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Newsletter 426: The fear of false self-employment
by Newsletter Editor at 10:15 17/12/13 ( Shout99 Newsletter)
There is something about the freelancer business model which sounds like it should be straight-forward, yet repeatedly this one person selling his or her knowledge to a willing buyer is a enigma of complex regulations, legal confusion and expert contradiction.
And, now another twist has entered the freelancing landscape. At the recent Autumn Statement, a new category of business was introduced, that of 'false self-employment'. Although it was not initially clear what or who this was aimed at, it was clear that whatever it was, was being targeted for a clamp down.

Even the phrase conjured up memories of 'disguised employment'. Was this IR35 Mark Two? IR35 Lite? Or something completely new? The vagueness of the Chancellor's statement fed the rumour mill and HMRC officials were forced to issue a quick statement of reassurance that this was not aimed at genuine businesses. Oh dear, those IR35 alarm bells sounded louder.

As a day or two passed, it because clear that the actual target for these new regulations would be the vulnerable,low paid workers, who were forced into self-employment to deprive them of their rights, often without their full knowledge as part of huge, orchestrated and mass marketed schemes. Small sighs of relief.

Rapidly followed by sharp intake of breath. Wasn't the original target of IR35 those vulnerable, low paid, Friday to Monday workers who were forced into a limited company business often to deprive......well, you know the rest.....

When a consultation document started talking about 'direction, supervision and control', fears of sledge-hammers to crack nuts returned.

There are still more questions than answers. But what is known is that the new provisions will sit in the agencies legislation. There will be a consultation period until February. Some industry bodies have welcomed the proposals, others fear it will cause considerable damage, particuarly to the business arrangements between agencies and freelancers. And, once again, freelancers feel concerns about the looming possiblity of further legislation and regulation on the way they do business.

Details, comments and expert views on false self employment and other issues from the Autumn Statement are in Shout99's Political News section.

Other news in Shout99

The House of Lords is taking a long, hard look into so-called Personal Service Companies (PSCs) and their impact on tax collection. A series of expert witnesses have been called to give evidence. We will be following developments closely. The first reports are here.

Advertisement - Protection against IR35 investigations (FO35)

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Freelancers Outside IR35 (FO35) is a complete operating system for small businesses with guidance on compliance; draft contracts; a helpline; status assessments; and representation by Qdos Consulting in the event of a dispute with the Revenue on tax; VAT; or IR35 issues.

FO35 is available online for immediate cover for 116.00 a year. For more information or to order, see Freelancers Outside IR35 (FO35).


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Happy Christmas

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all our readers, members, customers and contributors.

Susie Hughes, Editor
Newsletter 426
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