Articles - 8th January 2020

HMRC will return billions to freelancers in tax clampdown

Words by Emily & Jack

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 HMRC will return billions to freelancers in tax climbdown, The Times 

After scaling back on the loan charge crackdown, The Treasury is now refunding billions of pounds to freelance workers after an official report criticised the tax charges.

Many workers were driven to bankruptcy because of the charges, with some having to sell their homes even though they’d been assured by accountants that the schemes they were using operated within tax rules.

Ministers have now announced that the loan charge would now no longer apply to anyone who entered into a scheme before December 9, 2010.

In addition, people who used loan schemes between December 9, 2010, and April 5, 2016, but who had disclosed them on their tax returns would also not be charged.

As such, the government has said that 30,000 out of 50,000 of those people who had faced charges and back-tax bills would be given some money back. Of this figure, 11,000 will be left with no liabilities at all.

The Treasury would not disclose the amount the refunds would come to, but HMRC has previously shared that the total tax amount taken from the loan charge would be £3.2 billion.


Government to review rollout of controversial IR35 tax reforms, City A.M.

The government has announced that they will be reviewing the IR35 tax plan before it’s rollout in April of this year.

The Tax reforms were made to prevent disguised employment, when workers pretend to be freelance contractors in order to pay less tax. 

Being a freelancer is hard enough without having the eye of the law trying to catch you out. And businesses and individuals have already started to see negative effects of the IR35 reforms.

Therefore, the Treasury has called to action a review of the reforms, which will be finished by mid-February.

The chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Mike Cherry called for a delay to the rollout of the new rules in the light of the review.


6 out of 10 freelancers often feel lonely due to their work, Consultancy UK

Viking surveyed 1,500 workers in the UK, 750 were freelancers who work in usually office-based vocations and 750 workers who are currently employed in an office-based role. 

Results found that 64% of freelancers regularly feel lonely due to their work. On top of this, 56% of freelancers said they suffered from depression and 62% felt stressed due to work, totally opposing the figures from office-based workers, of whom 30% suffered depression and 55% were stressed.

Jenny Stallard, lifestyle journalist, a contributor to the UnderPinned magazine and founder of Freelance Feels, said of Viking’s research, “Isolation and loneliness as a freelancer often seem to go hand in hand but taking small steps and recognising the signs is a good place to start. You don’t have to become a receipt-inputting marathon-running ninja overnight. But if you are feeling stressed by the isolation, a group class or some fresh air might be just what you need to reset. It’s ok to say if you’re not coping, and if you are really struggling, there are charities such as Samaritans that can help.”


Freelancers and the curse of late payments, Financial Times

Every year, a staggering 50,000 small businesses go under due to late payments and it is the very smallest companies and the self-employed who suffer.

A report by online accountancy platform Xero surveyed 500 small business owners, and discovered that more than half have had to use their own savings or friends’ money to keep their businesses going because of late payments. 

The results showed that almost half of invoices issued by small business owners were paid past their due date. 


Increasing number of people favouring flexible work, study says, The Independent

More people are rejecting the traditional nine-to-five working day in favour of greater flexibility to get ahead in their careers and attempt a better work-life balance, research suggests.

Two out of five adults have done temporary agency work, contracting or freelancing at some point in their careers, up from just over a third in 2014, said the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (Rec).

More than one in four temporary agency staff, contractors or freelancers say they want to spend more time with their family, or on hobbies, gaining skills or setting up a business, according to the study.

A survey of more than 4,000 people showed a big increase in the number of 18- to 35-year-olds working as temps because they enjoy the flexibility it offers.


Late payment is still a huge problem for small business, The Times

Those who take the leap to go into business for themselves often fear that winning enough work will be the hard part. In fact, getting customers to pay their bills often proves to be the biggest headache.

It’s a big issue. There are almost five million self-employed people in Britain, making up 15 percent of the country’s workforce, according to statistics published by the Office for National Statistics in September.

About 50,000 small businesses go under every year because of late payments and it is the very smallest companies and the self-employed who bear the brunt.

More than half of small business owners have used their own savings or friends’ money to keep their businesses going because of late payments, according to a report published this year by Xero, an online accountancy platform.

The report, which surveyed 500 small business owners, found that almost half of invoices issued were paid past their due date. More than three quarters (76 percent) of owners agreed that having their own business would feel more “worth it” if cashflow was not such a problem.

 Microbusinesses, those employing fewer than ten people, account for 96 percent of all businesses in the UK.

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