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Despite tax uncertainty, growth in self-employment
by Susie Hughes at 15:11 29/11/17 (News on Business)
Amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding tax and the future of IR35, the majority of freelancers and contractors are confident independent working will continue to grow.
The latest ONS Labour Market Statistics highlighted that self-employment accounts for 4.81m people which equates to 15 per cent of the entire UK workforce.

In the recent Budget, the Chancellor announced plans to hold an IR35 consultation early next year to review recent public sector IR35 reform and explore the possibility of extending changes to the private sector. (For more Budget news see Shout99's Political News section.

It is widely thought private sector IR35 reform will be introduced in time, which could see 5.5 million private sector companies made responsible and in turn liable for setting the IR35 status of the contractors they engage.

With incoming cuts to tax-free dividend allowance, and recent and speculated tax changes impacting the self-employed the vast majority of the contracting workforcey do not believe the Government has the best interests of the independent workforce at heart.

However, regardless of the prospect of private sector reform at some point, research from contractor tax specialists, Qdos Contractor, 63 per cent of contractors believe it could be managed.

The research has also shows:

  • 61 per cent of freelancers and contractors are confident independent working will continue to grow;
  • 92 per cent of independent workers believe the Government views them as a soft target;
  • 95 per cent believe more must be done to tackle tax avoidance from big businesses.

Seb Maley, Qdos Contractor CEO said: "Recent and potential changes to the tax system and IR35 have cast somewhat of a shadow on 2017 for freelancers and contractors. Understandably they feel as though the Government is targeting them and unfairly reducing the benefits of independent working without offering anything in return.

"However, that the majority of independent workers are confident self-employment will continue to grow amid continued uncertainty demonstrates the resilience of the UK's independent workforce in what has been a testing year.

"Freelancers and contractors are right to be confident that their way of working is the new way of working and can continue its rapid growth regardless of further IR35 reform and ultimately short-sighted changes to the tax system."

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Susie Hughes Shout99 2017

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