Articles - 29th January 2020

Is IR35 going to end freelancing as we know it?

Words by Emily & Jack

 IR35: The End Of Freelancing As We Know It? (Forbes)

April 2020 sees the expansion of IR35 from the public sector to all businesses. Does the regulation mean freelancing as we know it will come to an end?

New research from bedigitaluk, has revealed that as many as 41% of those surveyed will be reviewing their strategy around engaging off-payroll workers come April 2020.

Just under two thirds (65%) of business owners were aware of the new IR35 legislation and had a plan in place to deal with the changes. After being informed of precisely what IR35 is, 41% stated that they would look to review their strategy for procuring contractors into their businesses; meanwhile, 11% said they would take more drastic action, by way of decreasing contractors numbers, in many cases restricting the progress on critical projects and other endeavours.

When asked if they’d already switched to outcome-based “statement of work” (SoW) contracts, it was found that one in five (21%) of businesses had done so. However, 45% of business owners admitted to being confused about what action to take next. When breaking down the sectors where business owners are most confused by IR35, those operating within the construction sector emerged as the most confused by the new legislation. 


Gender Rate Gap Goes Into Reverse For Top Creative-Media Freelancers (Freelance UK)

The 15 supermarket meal-deals-worth that female creative-media freelancers apparently lose to their male peers through the gender pay gap should probably, and fortunately, come with a 2019 ‘best before’ date.

In fact, despite the October 2018 finding (from SJD Accountancy, that such women could fill a shopping trolly from the 10% less than men that they earn), a freelance skills portal says its gender rate gap in 2019 was a mere 2.3%. Indicating that the gap is narrowing in creative-media specifically, most of the top areas where women now ‘out-earn’ men are creative or media-led, added (PPH).

For example, one of the portal’s most popular skills — Social Media (SM), last year paid out to female practitioners some 13% more in fees per hour than it did to male practitioners. Asked by FreelanceUK why the gender rate gap for SM women has not just closed, but has actually reversed, PeoplePerHour’s CEO answered by referring to two leading platforms.

“On [video-sharing site] TikTok, 60% of users are female and just 40% male. Similarly, Instagram has a 52: 42 percentage split, also in favour of women,” said Xenious Thrasyvoulo. He added in a statement: “As the fastest-growing apps have a higher percentage of female [personal] user accounts, perhaps it makes sense that women are owning these channels professionally, too.”


Brexit and IR35 rules weighed on recruitment last year, says report (City A.M.)

UK financial services firms were reluctant to take on new employees last year as the fog of Brexit hung over the sector and new tax rules limited temporary roles, a report by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley has found.

Yet despite the political turbulence, the tax, public practice, risk, investment management, and legal professions remained largely resilient, the report said. The report found that banks and asset managers were particularly reluctant to hire until there’s more Brexit clarity.

However, the report warned that Brexit uncertainty will continue in 2020 as the UK faces a tight timetable in which to strike a free-trade agreement with the EU.


Bangor becomes first university in Wales to partner with IPSE and support budding freelancers (Politics Home)

IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) and Bangor University have agreed a new partnership to support students who are either freelance or considering going into self-employment. It was the first university in Wales to join IPSE’s University Partnership scheme to support its budding freelancers.


Self-employed warned over copycat ‘HMRC’ websites charging up to £35 for phone calls ahead of 31 January deadline (This Is Money)

Self-employed workers are being warned against falling foul of copycat HMRC websites just three days before their tax return deadline. The sites pay to appear at the top of Google searches for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs phone numbers and trick people into thinking they are contacting HMRC directly. 

In fact, they are using an expensive call connection service, which can cost up to £35 for a short phone call. The self-assessment deadline is 11.59pm on Friday.

More than 700,000 people missed the deadline last year, becoming liable for penalties. If you fail to meet the deadline, you risk a £100 fine. After three months, HMRC will charge £10 a day.


Arts Council England rebrands artists as ‘creative practitioners’ because people making art feel uncomfortable with the ‘non-inclusive’ label (Daily Mail)

Artists will now be called ‘creative practitioners’ because people feel uncomfortable with the ‘non-inclusive’ label, Arts Council England has announced.  

The change is part of its drive to make the arts more inclusive, with a ten-year plan titled ‘Let’s Create’ intended to champion culture for ‘every person in every town, village and city’, particularly outside London. A report from Arts Council England also stresses using the term ‘culture’ instead of the ‘arts, museums and libraries’.  

This, it claims, will make art more ‘inclusive’, with disadvantaged communities, particularly in the North of England, set to be those who benefit the most from the new strategy. 

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