In amongst the Britain’s Got Talent audition that the chancellor took part in yesterday were some announcements regarding the economy and some good news for contractors. We won’t repeat his numerous Christmas Cracker jokes but here’s the 5 key takeaways for contractors;
Like the Panama Papers before, the latest leak on the tax affairs of the world’s rich and powerful show that the tide is turning against tax avoidance schemes.
There is no suggestion that those implicated in the leaks did anything illegal, the Paradise Papers have reignited a public debate about the global structures that facilitate tax avoidance.
The leak has led to a further blurring of the line between legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion. It has also caused serious reputational damage for dozens of individuals and multinational companies.
A recently concluded court case could have far-reaching consequences for contractors on ‘too good to be true’ tax avoidance schemes.
In a warning sign to contractors that are thinking about using a dodgy ‘too good to be true’ remuneration scheme, MPs have been told that users of one type of tax avoidance scheme could risk bankruptcy in the near future.
The charge centres on a recently concluded Supreme Court Case between Rangers Football Club and HMRC and a tax avoidance scheme where an offshore Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) paid players and other staff through loans.
Cloud Accounting software provider FreeAgent has moved a step further in its integration with NatWest and now enables users to sign up with their existing bank logon details.
This provides quick, easy sign on that is also secure and provides flexibility under Open Banking for the Natwest customer to decide what information is shared with FreeAgent
FreeAgent and Natwest have been trialling the system with around 2,00 customers and it has proven to be extremely successful, hence the wider rollout.
Operations Director Neil Armitage said “Contractors are constantly on the go and under a lot of pressure so anything that can simplify their lives like this is more than welcome. Closer integration with banking partners such as NatWest can only benefit our customers and it’s great to see FreeAgent continue to innovate”
Former MP and small business owner Paul Uppal has been appointed as the first Small Business Commissioner, with a mandate to tackle the late payment crisis and put a stop to big business bullying.
The Commissioner role, which was first proposed in the summer of 2015, will give small businesses the support they need to thrive in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
Reforms to ‘disguised employment’ IR35 rules were introduced in the public sector this year. The new rules caused confusion amongst recruiters and lead to a take-home pay cut for many contractors.
Now the Treasury has dropped its strongest hint yet that similar reforms could be introduced in the private sector – with the potential to affect millions of contractors and freelancers.
Calls from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to revive plans for a self-employment tax hike have been met with scorn and confusion from self-employment pressure groups.
The last budget, delivered before the general election in June, included plans to increase National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for self-employed workers.
But in an embarrassing U-turn the Chancellor was forced to drop the tax hike when MPs pointed out that it contravened a 2015 election promise not to increase VAT, NICs or income tax.
The government’s buying department, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), is creating a new national framework for the provision of supply teachers.
Amid growing concerns about a nationwide teacher shortage, the government wants a better deal for temporary staff and the schools that recruit them.
Working with the Department for Education (DfE), the CCS is finalising a new agreement that will cover all temporary and fixed term teaching and non-teaching roles.
This includes unqualified teaching assistants, cover supervisors, supply teachers and head teachers as well as non-classroom personnel like clerical workers and cleaners.
To justify the new framework, CSS highlighted school spending figures on supply staff.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the date for the government’s Autumn Budget, which will take place on Wednesday 22 November.
Delivered after Prime Minister’s Questions, the annual budget statement is presented alongside the latest economic forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
The statement is both an appraisal of the state of the economy and a plan for how the government will respond.
The Autumn Budget has a little more significance attached to it this year because, for the first time in a while, there will only be one Budget statement held each year – in autumn.