The hot topic on many contractor forums this month has been the news that, from 31st June, ClearSky Accounting has almost doubled its monthly subscription fee from £66 to £120. This hefty price hike applies not only to new customers but also to the current customer base (all of whom recently received a polite letter giving them the good news) and here in the inni office we’ve already switched a number of disgruntled ClearSky customers over to our online accounting service.
If, like us, you like to keep a watchful eye on the machinations of HMRC you’ll probably know that for the past few years they have been implementing an ambitious electronic filing system – in other words, a lot of the form filling you do for the tax man now needs to be completed online.
Today the Conservative party have signaled their intention to review IR35 as part of an overall review of small business taxation – should they be elected, that is.
You may have heard that HMRC have recently implemented a new PAYE computer system – good news in the long term, but during the changeover process HMRC identified one or two technical discrepancies which have resulted in some incorrect tax coding notices being issued.
While somebody somewhere in the depths of HMRC is no doubt busily fixing this glitch, official guidance has been on how contractors might be affected – here it is in a nutshell:
It’s not often you have cause to mention the words ‘student loan debts’ and ‘good news’ in the same breath, but in this case it might just be appropriate. HMRC have announced a new initiative to cut out student loan over-repayments, which frequently occur if you repay your loan off via PAYE deductions (pretty much everybody, then).
The Government’s one-year VAT holiday will end on 1st January 2010, with rates expected to return to 17.5% from the 15% we have enjoyed all year. HMRC have confirmed the normal tax point rules will apply: date of invoice or date of payment, whichever comes first.
So if the invoice or payment is made before 1st January, VAT will be at the rate of 15% – anything after that date will be charged at 17.5%. To help us through the transition, HMRC have issued some guidelines we should note:
- VAT should be calculated at 17.5% from 1st January.
In his speech to the Labour Party Conference, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown announced an extension of free nursery places, to be financed by the withdrawal of the tax and National Insurance (NIC) exemptions for childcare vouchers.
The proposal is that the provision of free nursery places will be extended to two year-olds (this would be on top of the existing free childcare available to three and four year olds). It is expected that 250,000 children will benefit from this by 2015/16.
Here’s the concluding part of our ten point guide on surviving the credit crunch. If you missed part one, click here to catch up .
Network like crazy
Strive to build a network with everything you do. Over the years you’ll meet so many people and each one is a prospective future client or has a link to one. Keep a list and if you’ve not spoken for a while give them a call to catch up – you never know where the conversation may go.
With global economies spiraling out of control, stock market volatility, banks going bust and talk of imminent recession, businesses and individuals are justifiably a little worried.
Whether you’re a contractor, freelancer or consultant you are perhaps a little more worried than most as you are more likely to get a tap on the shoulder before any permanent employees see redundancy. However you are no different to anyone else as bills still have to be paid, so what can you do now to stand the best chance of surviving the challenging times ahead?
The latest email based scam is in circulation whereby people are receiving an e-mail that claims to come from HM Revenue and Customs, which advises recipients they are due a tax refund. The mail directs users to a fake web site (hosted outside the UK) designed to have the same look and feel as the genuine HMRC site, using the same logos etc. The scam attempts to take advantage of the imminent deadline for online applications of tax returns (31st January 2009).