The news from March that could affect contractors
It’s been a busy month for contractors as the financial year drew to a close. March began with Rishi Sunak announcing the Spring budget as he set out the Government’s plan for financial recovery from the pandemic. Throughout March, we also saw lockdown restrictions begin to ease, with the schools reopening, spring finally arriving, and contractors, recruiters and end-clients made their last-minute preparations for the IR35 reforms. Read on for Kingsbridge’s round-up of the biggest contractor news in March, and what we expect to see in April.
Sunak announced the Spring Budget
It may feel like a lifetime ago now, but it was only on the 3rd March when Rishi Sunak announced the Spring Budget. IR35 was once again missed from the Budget speech and the subsequent full report, cementing that the reforms would be going ahead on the 6th April 2021 as planned. Just like last year, the main focus on the Budget was the coronavirus pandemic and how the economy would recover. It was announced that the furlough scheme would be extended until the end of September, as well as further measures and schemes announced to help to protect businesses.
Sunak also announced some new projects and work opportunities, including the first-ever UK infrastructure Bank and a group of new ‘freeports’. Kingsbridge is hopeful that these new projects will open up new opportunities for contractors, with rail and energy sector workers in particular looking to benefit.
Some good news for contractors with SEISS
One of the other major announcements from the Spring Budget for the self-employed was the extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) until September 2021. As well as the fourth grant covering from February to April, the fifth (and current final) grant will run from May to September.
The major good news from the SEISS announcement was that the metrics for applying for the SEISS scheme was widened to allow people who became self-employed in 2019-2020 to be able to apply, where previously they were ineligible. To be eligible to claim, the newly self-employed would have had to complete a 2019/2020 tax return before the deadline. There are, of course, further eligibility criteria which we have summarised in this blog.
Lockdown rules were eased
With the schools reopening and the next steps of Boris Johnson’s roadmap coming into force, it finally feels like the end is now in sight for lockdown. We know that many contractors breathed a sigh of relief when the kids went back to school, and we’ve put together a handy guide for parents on how to get back into some kind of routine. We’ve also put together an article on how contractors can get ready for lockdown ending, including contacting old clients and getting prepared for the new normal.
We reported on the loan charge and making tax digital
The loan charge is a legislation that was introduced by HMRC back in 2019, and we’ve put together a handy guide on what it is, who is affected and how it could affect contractors. Meanwhile, while the next round of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital are not due for just over a year, we thought it would be a good time to provide an overview of the changes. If IR35 has taught contractors and their clients anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared!
What can contractors expect next?
While we don’t have a crystal ball, the biggest news story for April will undoubtedly be the IR35 legislation coming into effect for the private sector. As always, Kingsbridge will be here to keep you up to date with the latest contractor news and guides.
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