Welcome to the News & Blog

Here at ClearSky, we want to keep you up-to-date with all the latest hot topics that may affect you and your business. This could be anything from IR35 to new legislations.

Please feel free to browse the various categories, individual posts and make your comments known to the author.

Caution urged over Scottish tax devolution

Devolving tax powers to the Scottish parliament could make the system even more of a “dog’s dinner” than it is now, according to a group of industry experts.

Hastily drawn up in the wake of last month’s independence referendum, the proposals to hand over more power to Holyrood have been met with widespread scepticism. Critics claim that the costs and administrative burden involved in such a move would be a huge obstacle for HMRC to overcome.

In a recent meeting, the Treasury Select Committee was told that tax devolution would create “uncertainty and complexity” within the system, and could result in less revenue for the taxman. Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), warned that neither HMRC nor Revenue Scotland had the capability to simultaneously manage two Pay As You Earn (PAYE) models. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Tax issues | Leave a comment:

Taxman calls time on BETs

Often the subject of much criticism, HMRC’s controversial Business Entity Tests (BETs) will soon be consigned to the history books.

In response to the IR35 Forum’s calls to abolish the system, the Revenue has announced that the tests will be scrapped on April 6th 2015. It will also get rid of the example scenarios published alongside the BETs with no plans to replace them.

The tests were first introduced in May 2012 to help contractors assess their approach to running a business and ensure that a Limited company had not been set up as a way to avoid paying the correct amount of tax. However freelancers and public sector departments alike incorrectly believed that they were a way to determine whether an individual would be caught by IR35. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Tax issues | Leave a comment:

How to keep yourself in the taxman’s good books

A visit from the taxman is something no contractor wants. The prospect of a costly and time consuming investigation is extremely unappealing so it is no wonder that freelancers seek to avoid it at all costs.

HMRC has recently ramped up its efforts to recoup millions of pounds worth of tax that it believes has not been paid correctly. From high-profile attacks on avoidance schemes to IR35 investigations, the Revenue seems determined to go on the offensive against tax dodgers.

In doing so, the taxman has garnered a reputation for picking on so-called “easy targets” – individuals who have perhaps been delinquent with their reporting requirements, or who have paid the wrong amount of tax in the past. It is therefore imperative that contractors do everything in their power to ensure they comply with all their responsibilities and therefore reduce the likelihood of an investigation. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Interims can no longer ignore draw of transport sector

Interim managers can benefit from “unprecedented demand” for their services from the transport sector, a new study has revealed.

Figures released by polling organisation Ipsos MORI show that the industry is mounting a real challenge to the financial sector’s dominance of the interim market. The survey finds that there has been a steady increase in demand over recent years, as companies put “a huge amount of investment” into bidding for contracts.

Transport now accounts for 15% of interim assignments, compared to 38% within the financial sector. While the bidding process remains the biggest source of demand, other areas such as infrastructure projects and programme development are also performing well. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Thinking of going Limited? Come on in, the water’s great!

For many people, the idea of becoming their own boss is extremely appealing. The most common route is to set up a Limited company, as it allows the individual to benefit from a wide range of perks, including unbeatable tax efficiency and considerable protection in the event of financial problems.

New research from polling organisation Ipsos MORI and HMRC finds that incorporating a business is generally a smart way to make money, as 65% of Limited company contractors reported a healthy profit during 2012-13. This is compared to 19% who made a loss and 9% that only managed to break even.

The overwhelming majority (80%) of company directors would recommend incorporation to those considering making the leap from traditional employment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this figure rose to 94% among those individuals who earned £50,000 or more per year. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Proud to support the self-employed stars of the future

At ClearSky, we recognise the significant contribution that contractors and the self-employed make to the UK’s economic prosperity. That’s why we are immensely proud to be associated with a nationwide competition to find Britain’s best independent worker.

The 15 for 15 initiative from the association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) is designed to reward the nation’s up and coming entrepreneurs and give them the opportunity to reach their full potential. It is part of the association’s campaign to make 2015 the year of the independent professional.

Chris Bryce, IPSE’s chief executive, said: “Self-employment is no longer the preserve of a chosen few. It is a viable option for anyone who wants to strike out alone and take control of their own destiny.” … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Are past RTI errors returning to haunt HMRC?

HMRC’s controversial Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system presents “real and serious” problems for employers and taxpayers, according to a leading tax body.

This withering assessment of the taxman’s flagship project was made by the Association of Tax Technicians (ATT), which called for an “urgent review” of the system. It claimed that employers were facing a “significant burden” at a time when it was crucial for HMRC to build confidence in the legislation.

It alleged that the Revenue failed to listen to ATT advice during the system’s inception, while also ignoring similar warnings from other tax bodies. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Recruiters enjoy billings bonanza

Recruiters are basking in a sustained period of growth, as temporary billings surge for the seventeenth month in a row.

This is according to the latest Report on Jobs survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, which found that agency fee income from contractor and temp placements rose at a “strong and accelerated pace” in September.

In what was described as a “perfect storm” of market conditions, the study also revealed that contractor assignment rates rose at the fastest pace since 2007, fuelled by strong private sector demand. Healthcare and engineering remained the biggest sources of opportunities. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Graduate salaries: ‘geeks’ have the last laugh

Often the butt of jokes, computer scientists are seemingly getting revenge on their counterparts when it comes to graduate salaries.

New figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) find that those with computing degrees feature three times in the top 10 earners list. Top of the pile are those from Oxford University, who are able to command wages of £43,895 just six months after graduating.

Degree holders from Imperial College London’s ‘compSci’ courses came in fifth place, with an earning power of £39,060. Meanwhile, computer scientists from Cambridge can look forward to a salary of £38,195. The report also finds that software consultancies, technology companies and banks are the three main employers of computer scientists. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Taxman goes psychological in quest for cash

HMRC has unveiled its latest weapon in the fight against late tax payments – guilt.

The revelation was made by chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, who announced that the taxman has employed a team of psychologists to “subtly alter” the wording of reminder letters. A similar “nudge” method is being used to encourage tax evaders to pay up outstanding liabilities and clarify their tax position.

HMRC claims the changes were made as a result of “large scale” trials in which the Revenue pinpointed the “exact words and concepts” designed to make people more likely to pay their dues. It estimates that the alterations have already led to an estimated £210 million of additional income. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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