ContractorCalculator: Contracting news in brief - 25/Nov/2011

The importance and value of contracting to UK Plc firmly in the national spotlight on National Freelancers Day

Contracting experts offered new insights into the importance and value of the UK’s contracting sector at the Freelance Lecture on National Freelancers Day this week. Speakers included Pentagon advisor Dr Karen Stephenson, who explained how contractors can manage their networks to optimum effect, and Professor Andrew Burke of Cranfield School of Management, who highlighted how vital contractors are to driving innovation and growth. The full Freelance Lecture, which includes PCG’s John Brazier and the Sunday Telegraph’s Kamal Ahmed, can be watched on the National Freelancers Day website. More…

Key contracting tips in online presentation by ContractorCalculator’s Dave Chaplin

Contractors can learn key contracting tips online from ContractorCalculator’s CEO Dave Chaplin. On the National Freelancers Day website, Chaplin joins twelve other experts offering advice and key lessons for new contractors and freelancers, or for established contractors seeking to up their game. A former IT contractor himself, Chaplin explains how contractors must adopt the right mindset and work through a sales, marketing and business management process to find and secure a steady stream of contracts.

HMRC has contractors and contracting service providers under MSC spotlight

Contractors and contracting service providers are the subject of increasing Managed Service Company (MSC) legislation compliance activity by HMRC, resulting in transfer of debt notices being imposed on both contractors and businesses. According to information received from HMRC by Professional Passport, 216 reviews of service providers have taken place since the introduction of the legislation in 2007, generating a tax yield of almost £6m. As a result, 142 ‘transfer of debt’ notices were issued in the 2010/2011 financial year, with the average amount of debt per notice being £2,610 for ‘worker/shareholders’ and £46,975 for ‘other parties’. More…

IR35 Forum: HMRC will publish its risk rules, but ‘in-business’ tests may be coming

Contractors are likely to benefit from two key HMRC’s decisions revealed by the minutes of the IR35 Forum meeting held on 9 November. HMRC has agreed to publish its risk rules, albeit withholding some details that might aid tax avoidance, and to no longer consider contracts in isolation, rather “to consider the overall nature of an intermediary.” However, the implications of the PCG proposal for a “tiered test approach, where the indicators of business dictate the level of HMRC intervention”, are less clear. More…

Scottish contracting market outperforming the rest of the UK

Demand for contractors in Scotland increased at a faster rate than the rest of the UK in November, according the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs. Demand for temporary and contract staff “increased markedly and at a rate above the long-run series average”. IT and computing, and engineering and construction, were in third and fourth place respectively in the demand table. Hourly rates experienced a “solid rise”, with the strongest rise in Aberdeen, possibly driven by skills shortages in the oil and gas sector. More…

AWR “undermining” market for contractors: recruiter body urges early review

Contractors are losing work as a direct result of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) according to recent surveys by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC). Both organisations are calling for an early review of the legislation, which is damaging the work prospects of the very workers it was designed to protect. “The option is there for an early review,” says ARC Chairman Adrian Marlowe, “and if indicators are correct, there can be no advantage in delay.” More…

Contractors to benefit from UK exports worth £20bn by 2020

Contractors have a major part to play in creating and implementing the export strategies that could generate an extra £20bn in the UK economy by 2020. A new report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Ernst & Young, Winning overseas: boosting export performance, claims that focusing on the right products and services, high-growth markets and encouraging small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to export will reverse the UK’s declining export performance. The report identifies the construction, communications, financial services and the creative industries, all strong contracting sectors, as having high-growth potential.

Government imposes damaging ‘one size fits all’ regulations on contractors warns FCSA

Contractors suffer from a ‘one size fits all’ regulatory approach from government that “risks damaging the flexible workforce and consequently diminishing their potential contribution to the UK economy”. This is according to Stuart Davies, Chairman of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association, in a statement responding to government plans to streamline recruitment sector rules. Davies calls on Business Secretary Vince Cable and Prime Minister David Cameron to “recognize the importance of this contribution to the economic recovery” and to “ensure all proposed regulatory change is tailored accordingly.”

Contractors with hidden offshore assets in the sights of new HMRC unit

Contractors with undeclared offshore assets are firmly in the sights of HMRC’s new Offshore Co-Ordination Unit (OCU). The unit is tasked with identifying contractors “who hide income and capital in offshore accounts to avoid UK tax and duties”, and brings together a team of over 100 investigators, tax experts and offshore analysts. The initial focus of the OCU will be on UK nationals with accounts and assets held in Swiss banks.

Contractors unlikely to be affected by any new General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR)

Contractors are unlikely to be affected by any new General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) according to a Treasury-commissioned study. The study, completed by tax barrister Graham Aaronson QC, concludes that a general GAAR would not benefit the UK’s tax regime nor would it send the right signal to inward investors already concerned about the UK tax landscape’s relative instability. However, it does recommend that a narrowly focused GAAR would “deter abusive tax avoidance schemes” and “offer opportunities to simplify the tax system”. More…

Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011

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