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28. 09. 2020

Choose the right Umbrella company, not a tax avoidance scheme!

As most people involved in the contract market will know, the Off-Payroll in the Private sector (IR35) legislation was delayed in April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but, sadly, is due to go live in April 2021. One thing that this legislation will spawn, as the Off-Payroll in the Public Sector did in 2017, is a raft of tax avoidance schemes that will appear to be legitimate but aren’t. Unscrupulous operators will set up what will appear to be honest and lawful umbrella companies but will promise a take-home pay rate of 80 or 90% of gross pay. As always, anything that appears too good to be true is either not true, or illegal! The most likely way they will do this is to convert your income into a ‘loan’ and use this as a method to avoid paying National Insurance and Tax. However, these schemes are not legal and HMRC will close them down and come after you for underpaid tax – it is likely that you will end up paying more than you should have done in the first place. Note that some of these schemes will claim to be HMRC approved – HMRC does not approve tax avoidance schemes. Be wary of any agency that insists you use a certain umbrella or scheme in order to secure a role, and don’t presume that just because a fellow contractor uses the scheme that it is safe – they may have an incentive to get you on the scheme or may not be aware themselves of the huge risk and liability they face. A reputable agency is likely to ask you to only use an FCSA approved umbrella as this will give all parties protection in knowing that it is acting lawfully. Make sure you do your research and don't believe anything that looks too good to be true! We can supply you with details of a number of FCSA approved umbrella companies and are happy for you to decide which one to use.
19. 08. 2020

Make sure you wear trousers, and other useful video interview tips!

With video interviews becoming the new normal we wanted to share our top tips to ensure you are fully prepared for your upcoming video interviews! Test your webcam and access to the interviewing platform prior to your interview. Technical issues are the last thing you need when you are already nervous! Dress appropriately, you never know what you might need to grab during the interview and those Mickey Mouse PJ bottoms might not make the best impression! Make sure you have good lighting, this applies to a room being too bright or too dark! Find a quiet part of your house! It's difficult enough working from home, and add in kids with the summer holidays and you will need minimal distractions! Close all unnecessary tabs and applications on your computer or laptop. You don’t want pings and dings going off to distract your attention. ! Have a pen and pad to write notes and your CV for reference to hand! Smile, nod, listen, and use hand gestures when needed! This will give more body language signals and show you are engaged! Turn your phone on silent and/or put it in another room! GSA Techsource offer a range of video interviewing tools that will add value and speed up your interviewing and onboarding process, to find out more call Lauren on 01534-250555
21. 04. 2020

Why it’s imperative for PSC contractors to hold business insurance

As I am sure you are all aware, the private sector IR35 reforms have been put on hold until April 2021. What contractors must remember, however, is that IR35 has not changed, just who makes the determination, and how payment is then made. As it stands, it is for the contractor to determine whether or not they are caught by the IR35 legislation. A key to showing that you are legitimately working outside IR35, is to be able to demonstrate you are operating as a business in your own right and therefore not an employee. Holding business insurance has always been a helpful indicator (not the only one) of being in business on your own account. It clearly demonstrates that you are taking on contractual risks and liabilities as you are taking steps to protect your business. The taking on of discernible financial risk is a key indicator of working outside IR35 and the fact that professional indemnity insurance is held demonstrates a financial obligation and responsibility to protect your interests. It’s good business practice to ensure you are taking responsibility for your work and actions, and it protects you should anything unforeseen go wrong. It’s an added bonus if it helps indicate your IR35 status as well. As part of our compliance process, and a requirement of our contract terms, we ensure that our contractors hold the appropriate level of business insurance, however, it is something every PSC should hold for very clear reasons.
31. 03. 2020

RIP, My Dear Friend

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write this. Over the weekend, following a sudden illness, I lost my friend, business partner, mentor to our wonderful team, and mother to the beautiful Milli. Jayne and I have been on quite a journey over the past 9 years, through tough times and great times, ups and downs, seen people come and go, and watched many flourish and grow into amazing colleagues and friends. Our business is people, and Jayne was just the most wonderful, loving and infectious person any of us could ever meet. This is clear from the incredible outpouring of condolences from friends, clients, colleagues, and many, many more besides. Our team is devastated by the loss but I know Jayne would be proud of the support they have shown each other, even in this strange, remote world we find ourselves, and the courage they have shown to pull together to ensure the legacy that we have built together continues to grow and flourish. Jayne instilled in the team a quality to deliver the best service possible to candidates and clients alike, and it is a testament to this that they continue to work as hard as ever to help our clients in this difficult time. Nothing less than Jayne would expect! Jayne will be sorely missed, but never forgotten, and will be forever in our hearts. Rest in peace, my dear friend.
18. 03. 2020

IR35 delayed - a bit late isn't it?

I think I, along with thousands of others, jumped with joy at the announcement yesterday evening by Stephen Barclay MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that the impending off payroll legislation known as IR35 would be deferred until April 2021. As good as this news is, we should never have reached this point with the legislation. The contract community and the wider business community have been arguing for the past 18 months (at least) that it is no fair and is not fit for purpose (as we have seen in the public sector). It’s difficult not to feel that HMRC knew it was a pile of the proverbial a long time ago but wasn’t prepared to lose face by delaying it and simply carried on with it, and now they have a convenient get out by blaming it the current coronavirus emergency. For anyone following IR35 closely, you may have read that the House of Lords ripped HMRC and the IR35 legislation to shreds over the past few days. HMRC was incapable of justifying many points raised by the Lords. I am fully aware of the vast amount of time spent in preparation for April 6th 2020 but agencies, clients, umbrellas, accountants and contractors, the cost of which is immeasurable. Just like in April 2017 when we got sight of the final public sector legislation 2 weeks before the April 6th deadline, we now have clarity just over 2 weeks before the private sector deadline. Maybe HMRC and Gov work in a parallel universe where business has nothing better to do than to react to legislative changes at the very last minute. Let’s hope that the next 12 months give HMRC time to make the legislation more realistic, fair and workable for all. I’m not holding my breath.