Contractor News: April

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Martin Baxter
28 Apr 2021 @ 10:04 am
in category: News

With just a blink of an eye, April is almost over. The month saw further lockdown measures easing, as pubs and restaurants opened for outdoor service, non-essential shops re-opened and the rule of 6 came back into play for outdoor gatherings. For contractors, easily the biggest news story of the year so far was the IR35 reforms. Despite rumours of another delay, the off-payroll legislation came into effect on the 6th of April, creating the biggest shake-up for the contractor industry in a long time. From IR35 to lockdown, we’ve put together all the important news and highlights for contractors from April.  

IR35 is here! 

After being delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, on the 6th April 2021, the private sector off-payroll reforms officially came in. These changes to the private sector have seen the responsibility for assessing your IR35 status shift from you to your end client, with the liability of paying any necessary tax and NIC payments now with your fee-payer. This has been the case for the public sector since 2017, and paired with this change for the private sector, it means that all limited company contractors will be assessed by their client unless the contract is with a small business (as deemed by HMRC). For a full overview of what has changed, how you as a contractor will be assessed for IR35, and how you can check your IR35 status, you can read all about it in this blog post – the IR35 reforms are here: what now?  

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IR35 contractor questions  

Now that the off-payroll reforms are here, our very own Head of Tax, Andy Vessey, welcomed a flurry of new Ask Andy questions as contractors, recruiters and end-clients alike made their last-minute checks. Questions put to Andy included matters around tax indemnity and how to challenge a status determination statement. Don’t forget, you can still Ask Andy your IR35 questions by clicking here

One question that we frequently heard from our contractors was how IR35 applies when working outside the UK - so much so that we decided to write a blog about it. This question would depend on your engagement and the client you are working for, but if you are not a UK resident for tax purposes by the statutory residency test, then the IR35 legislation does not apply to your business. You can find out more, including what to do if you are working for a non-UK based client here.  

Furthermore, with the reforms now here, freelancers were asking whether IR35 actually applies to them. The short answer to this is no – most freelancers operate as sole traders, and the IR35 legislation only applies to individuals operating through their own limited company. You can find out more about whether IR35 applies to freelancers here.

Lockdown rules were eased  

On the 12 of April, the next set of lockdown measures were relaxed, as per Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap. We were finally able to get a haircut, grab a pint and complete a workout at the gym. We know that many of you may still be feeling unsafe about jumping into things again, and the gym-goers among you may be hesitant about returning to the gym, particularly if you haven’t had the vaccine yet. To help, we have pulled together a list of at-home workouts, that you can do from the safety of your own home - whether that’s relaxing after a stressful day with a calming yoga session or burning some extra energy with a high-intensity workout.  

Despite the lockdown restrictions easing, the Government advice remains to work from home where you can, although more contractors and employees have begun to return to work. If you are still working from home full-time, you may be wondering if you still need your insurances in place. While you could be tempted to let your public liability insurance lapse, it can be a contractual requirement, and you don’t want to leave yourself uninsured in case you do need to pop to your client’s offices. Professional indemnity insurance is also one to consider keeping, as just because you are working from home, mistakes can still easily happen. We take a look at what insurances you should consider keeping when working from home here.  

Contractor insurance from Kingsbridge  

If your contractor insurance has lapsed in lockdown, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got everything you need in place, so that you can focus on what you do best - running your business. Kingsbridge’s comprehensive insurance package has been designed to include everything you need, covering you for professional indemnity, public liability, occupational personal accident cover, employers’ liability and directors’ and officers’ liability. And with our price promise guarantee, it means that if you do find like for like cover cheaper elsewhere, we can price match this for you. Get a quote today here or call our friendly team on 01242 808 740.  

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