Following last week’s Autumn Statement the government’s position on public sector IR35 reform is clear. But Britain’s judges could block the plans if they are shown to contradict employment law.

Set to be introduced in April 2017, the public sector IR35 reforms will lead to many public sector contractors losing some of their take home pay and the changes could have some nasty unintended consequences for public services too.


The Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement contained some pretty eye-watering sums. The estimated cost of Brexit at £58.7bn and an extra £122bn of borrowing in this parliament are two of the biggest.

There were some positive numbers though. £26bn to fund investment in housing, transport, digital technology and research and development will prove valuable to contractors in some of these industries.

Others, meanwhile, will be left counting the cost of tax increases. Here are seven of the most important points for contractors and limited company owners.

Umbrella Accountants would like to congratulate FreeAgent

As a FreeAgent Premium Partner, Umbrella Accountants would like to congratulate FreeAgent on their recent flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

The company  was set up in 2007 by the three founders, Ed Molyneux, Olly Headey and Roan Lavery who were finding nothing suitable for their accounting needs in the marketplace. Set up with the intention of making accounting less painful for end users the company has gone from strength to strength since then winning prestigious Software Satisfaction Awards and thousands of new users along the way.

Umbrella Accountants moved to FreeAgent over two years ago because we also wanted to make handling finances as simple as possible for our contractors so it was a natural fit. We have attended Partner conferences at the head offices Scotland where we have seen much of what the future holds for the software, as well as taking part in round table discussions on tax changes that affect contractors and freelancers.

Congratulations once more to everyone at FreeAgent and we look forward to continuing to grow with them.

Mercedes X-Class targets construction workers after a bit of posh

Pickup trucks are the backbone of many successful businesses around the UK, with the added bonuses of mean styling and toweringly lofty driving positions, the latter having become increasingly desirable for private motorists too. To date, only the Volkswagen Amarok has flirted with taking the pickup truck segment upmarket, but an announcement from Mercedes-Benz means that construction businesses and tradespeople will be able to combine the best of all worlds when its new X-Class takes to the road. It’ll be available in two distinct versions, the choice coming down to how ‘hands-on’ one’s job role is.

IR35? Don’t worry about it!
Editor | 31 October 2016
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A new feature in FreeAgent will now calculate your submissions and tax liability for you on a monthly basis.

Here's how to use it

Go on the work tab and create a new project.

How the Autumn Statement affects contractors who drive
Editor | 29 November 2016
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Starting with the more positive news for business motorists to come out of Phillip Hammond’s debut Autumn Statement, fuel duty has been frozen for the seventh consecutive year, meaning that contractors aren’t faced with having to dig deeper in order to put fuel in their vehicles, and nor are the firms some of them work for, such as couriers or construction companies.

The lamentable state of UK roads often results in delays along with damage to vehicles’ wheels, suspension and other components, so additional welcome news for contractors who drive is that an extra £1.1 billion will be provided by the government by 2020-21, aimed at relieving congestion and upgrading key roads. £220 million will also be spent on alleviating notorious pinch-points, helping the self-employed make more efficient use of their valuable time.

Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance - hot on the heels of their last award

Hot on the heels of their last award our chosen insurance partner Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance has now been honoured as the Affiliate Member of the Year at the 2016 APSCo Awards for Excellence.

Their specialist insurance packages aimed at contractors were part of the services that won them the nod from the APSCo judges

Thomas Wynne from Kingsbridge said the company are “working with more recruiters than ever. With non-standard terms becoming the norm, and hirers exerting more control than ever before, the days in which a recruiter could accept no responsibility for any acts, errors, or omissions committed by the worker they supplied are long gone. Kingsbridge are there to help recruiters and make them aware of the risks they face. Many recruiters run a list of preferred suppliers for accountancy and umbrella service providers in order to ensure their contractors’ affairs are managed compliantly at all times, but many do not have an insurance partner ready to help manage the risk which arises from placing contractors.”

As an APSCo affiliate member we wish to extend our congratulations once more to Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance for this richly deserved win.

A study completed as part of a broader investigation into the ‘gig economy’ could end up costing you up to £1,000 in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) if you work more than one job.

A survey, which was commissioned by the government, has concluded by recommending wholesale reform of the NIC system for employed and self-employed people with multiple jobs.

If applied, the recommendations would see NI applied on a ‘per person basis’, which would effectively mean a tax increase of up to £19 for some multiple job workers (nearly £1,000 per year).

Completed by the Resolution Foundation, the study represents part of a broader examination into tax and employment regulations in the modern era.

It found that many of the assumptions underpinning the so-called ‘gig economy’ were false. 

What this landmark Uber ruling could mean for contractors
Editor | 31 October 2016
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A landmark court ruling has found that Uber drivers are not self-employed contractors and can be classed as employees.

The employment tribunal ruled that the taxi app drivers are entitled to minimum wage and other benefits.

It was the case of the decade for employment law – pitting the popular lift hailing app company against one of Britain’s most powerful unions in a tribunal case that threatens to shatter the so-called ‘gig economy.’

The ruling isn’t just important for Uber, its drivers and its customers - it could also have more far reaching consequences for other self-employed contractors and their employers.

In this blog post we take a closer look at the case and evaluate some of the potential consequences of the ruling.

Halloween reminder to claim money back on uniform costs
Editor | 28 October 2016
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If you are a nurse, a prison officer, a farmer or you work in any profession that requires you to wear a recognisable uniform then it might be tempting to splatter some fake blood over your uniform and use that as a Halloween costume this weekend.

Lots of people hate dressing up for Halloween, and if you are one of them then you will know how appealing it can be to go for the lowest-cost, lowest-effort option available. But did you know that if you do have to wear a uniform to work then you can get a tax refund for cleaning and maintaining it.