The Contractor and Self Employed Bitching Thread

One of the govt agencies decided to implement this as of Dec and 29 out of their 31 contractors walked out. They have now informed us that they cannot deliver any of the work we need for some of our projects.

They have also done away with the flat rate VAT scheme and IR35 compensation which will reduce income by another 9%

Are you contracting through an agency as all HMRC have done is moved the IR35 responsibility from the contractor to the engager which could be your agent or the public sector agency.

I did the EST tool last week and managed to come outside of IR35 but most pubic sector agencies are shitting themselves over the auditing and are saying they will probably just deem all contractor or agency workers to be inside of IR35.

The irony is that most of the HMRC IT systems are delivered and maintained by contractors.

Surely the aim is to pay the same amount of tax as you would have done were you on PAYE.

What about holiday, sickness or employment rights etc?

What do they have to do with taxation of income, honest question, not being arsey here. My better half works as a contractor through an agency and gets none of the above, she gets paid double the rate a full time employee gets in compensation.

It’s about financial risk,if she’s safe in the fact her contract is long term then she’s not really contracting and is IR35/PAYE.

The problem is for contractors who work on short term contracts and may not have work for a few months after the contract ends.

PAYE or FTE have employment rights and even if there is no work they still get paid (until redundancy)

I think the problem comes when you get contractors forming one person companies, paying themselves a small salary, under NIC and tax thresholds, then taking dividends at a lower tax rate and a higher tax threshold. See lots of people doing that earning more than me and paying a shed load less tax.

Are you a Limited Company Bob or a Sole Trader? If you have a Ltd Co. your accountant who does your books will take the course you mentioned to maximise your earnings. That is not illegal. Same with flat rate VAT which is also legal.

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But why should that influence the tax approach? Sure it should mean that your get paid more, but I don’t see why the tax rate should be changed by this.

Tax does a multitude of things. One is to encourage behaviour that the government approves of. If they set up a tax system which provides loopholes for contractors (industrious, innovative, dynamic, risk-taking, self-sufficient people) over regular employees (dull drones, the sort of nine-to-five clock-watchers who expect the welfare state to work and whose preferred route for taking care of their interests is to join a trades union, ugh !) then we have to assume they’ve done it for ideological reasons. And to ensure that the extra money received by the good guys comes out of the pockets not of their employer and his shareholders but of the state’s income which would otherwise, like all tax, largely be wasted on providing for society as a whole.

VB Spart

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I was a contact engineer for ten years I contracted for the same company for seven years.
I did what you said above.

My experience is was a typical MO for IT and Engineering contractors. Businesses cannot to afford to take them on permanently - They would demand a salary up to twice the permies they work alongside - Obviously unworkable for a business. - I think that HMRC have been trying to close this gap for years as they are definitely loosing out on tax revenues.

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I think this is a critical point. It’s become accepted that part of the state’s job is to put money into businesses which would otherwise be non-viable (because they can’t afford to pay the true costs of doing whatever it is they do). It occurs in much larger numbers (I believe) at the bottom end of the pay scale where tax credits allow employers to staff their businesses very cheaply because the state effectively tops up the salaries, keeping the staff above the breadline. I confess I do understand the argument for this as a policy - there are some real benefits from being in work and from having some jobs done even if, strictly speaking, they’re not economically viable.

VB Keynes


But, you have to pay your own pension (-20% (your and your employers contribution)), you have no job security at all, you don’t get paid sickness or holidays (lose 25 days pay a year), you are fixed term, you have to pay legal and accounting fees (about £1K per annum for a Ltd company), you get treated like crap by most organisations, you have no say in the area you work in, you have to deal with agencies who like to keep your money for 3 - 6 months, you need to fill in VAT submissions every 3 months and pay them even if you have not been paid. The tax advantages are being seriously erroded, so the rates will rise to compensate. And, as has been said, most Gov’t organisations could not afford the skills they buy this way, as the people don’t fit into the regimented pay scales.

Spoken as an ex-contractor via a limited company.

We, as contractors, are brought in to do a job that, allegedly, no one else can do from the permie pool of staff. The type of job I do (project planning) is not a dark art, but many people see it as one hence why they employ contractors.
I was once a permie and did the same job as I do now. I was treated like shit and not respected for what I did. Contractors, on the other hand, were deemed to be minor gods with the knowledge of the universe at their fingertips. When I was ripped a new arse at a project meeting (I was shat upon by my project manager [the cunt] who refused to accept that whatever it was was his responsibility) I decided enough was enough and left the feckers to clear up their own shit. I was in work as a contractor within two weeks of leaving and was immediately respected for what I did.
Yes the money is better, but there is no sick-pay, no holiday entitlement, no company pension. Yes we may pay less personal tax but we do pay Corp tax, and any other tax that may be necessary. We do not avoid tax. How much more will go into the Govt coffers by way of this new ruling I have no idea, but I bet it’s a hell of a lot less than they would have got from the likes of Starfucks, Amazon, etc.
It’s easy to pick on the small people; the big bastards have bigger lawyers and better accountants than I could ever afford.

my wife went from permie to contractor and back again. Yes she agrees she was initially treated like a god solving the problems no one else could in time scales no one else could. But after 5 years she said that had all gone, and despite the same attributes the contractors were in the end treated like shit…disposable like a used tissue. She got lucky, her last company offered her a permanent role that was hard to refuse… yes there was a pay cut, but when you took into account all the hassle of contracting, the cut was bearable. I don’t know what the situation is like now as this was 10+ years ago.

All I do know is that these days she hires and fires contractors at the bat of an eyelid.

At our place, I have been through a process of consolidating contractor budgets into permanent posts, and the quality of the deliverables has increased. In an HEI we call contractors Visiting Lecturers, and i’d rather not have to use them…

My industry relies on contractors. Without them the industry will carry on, but will not deliver on its projects. I foresee a year of shite, followed by a term of contemplation along the lines of ‘why are we unable to deliver the necessary projects’. It is HMRC who are driving this problem, not the employers. Hopefully, HMRC will take a battering for this, but I doubt it.

One of my roles before I got sick was to replace as many of our Visiting and Temporary Lecturers as possible as we feel they are very poor value for money.

We pumped the funds we saved into fully funded PhD scholarships. As an institution we get better students, better classroom outcomes on average as we control training and standards, and an increased flow of decent research. Along with an income and a full fee waiver, the students get proper vocational training as part of their PhD programme and our NSS scores have risen markedly so the undergraduates are happier.

The temporary lecturers and tutors lost out, but they were given 18 months notice of the change so had some time to adjust. As almost all of them were moonlighting from another HEI where they are in full-time roles we didn’t feel we were being overly vicious in cutting them.

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I don’t really understand why any industry allows itself to rely on contractors. Contractors make sense when you have fluctuating staff requirements, project work say, or if you need some unusual skills for a short time. However, many companies seem to have a large number of contractors all the time. I can’t see the sense of this.

As you say, it is required because of fluctuating staff requirements.

I have trained-up a few planners over the years and I have my own (seemingly successful) way of doing that. Where I currently work, they decided a few years ago to start training their own planners so that they would have a pool of in-house planners. Well, they did train them. But as they wouldn’t pay them decent money the good ones left for a better life while the dross remained. I did try to point this out to company at the beginning but they wouldn’t listen. Hence why they need to bring in contractors.

Throughout my working life I work with a mixture of contract and permenant staff.
Contract staff are far more reliable at actually turning up to work or they don’t get paid.
They don’t get a 25 days paid holiday entitlement.
No pension contributions are required.
They don’t whine to HR when something trivial happens.
If they are crap at thier job thier contract gets terminated whereas permenant staff that are crap at thier job tend to get promoted IME.

I can only imagine it’s political rather than tax policy. Don’t think any party would get elected on a ticket of removing the ability of one Man band companies to effectively take pay as dividends to avoid income tax.