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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.

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Top 3 recruitment trends in financial services

It’s fair to say the financial sector has had its ups and downs since the economic meltdown of 2008. Widespread mistrust and wave after wave of scandals have made “banker bashing” a regular pastime for the public and media alike.

When it comes to recruitment, the industry has changed dramatically over the past few years. A deep-rooted desire to avoid repeated mistakes, coupled with heavy regulation, has created a strong demand for compliance experts. At the same time, rapid technological advancements have left many businesses in the sector playing catch-up.

Specialist staffing firm Leathwaite has outlined what it believes are the three most important recruitment trends, and how the financial crisis has helped shaped the industry. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Could the HSBC scandal trigger tax rebellion?

The HSBC scandal has taken a new twist, with leading figures from the creative arts saying they are willing to go to prison in protest over the affair.

Actor Greg Wise, husband of Oscar winner Emma Thompson, has called on the public to show unity and take part in a mass protest until those involved in the scandal are brought to justice. He said it us wrong that HSBC has not “been slapped on the wrist” – something he blamed on the “beautiful grey area between avoidance and evasion.”

Mr Wise vowed that the couple would not pay a penny of tax in protest, even if that leads to a prison sentence of their own. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Self-employment revolution boosts taxman’s coffers

An increase in income from self-assessment tax returns helped HMRC rake in more than £60 billion last month, official figures have revealed.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics shows that the Revenue received £12.3 billion from self-employed taxpayers in January 2015, an increase of almost 15% when compared to the previous year.

The figure represented the lion’s share of HMRC’s Income Tax haul for last month, which stood at £24.7 billion. Pay as you earn (PAYE) contributed £11.8 billion, an increase of 2.5% against 2014’s total. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Osborne vows to get tough with tax dodgers

The HSBC saga rumbles on, as the Conservative-led coalition strives to prove it is determined to come down hard on tax evasion.

George Osborne has faced heavy criticism from opposite number Ed Balls, with the Labour MP accusing the chancellor of trying to sweep the problem under the carpet. In response, Mr Osborne insisted he was acting on the “extremely serious” allegations about HSBC.

The chancellor indicated next month’s Budget could include new measures to tackle the issue. He said: “Anyone involved in tax evasion, whatever your role, this government is coming after you. Unlike the last government, who simply turned a blind eye, this government is taking action now and will do so again at the Budget.” … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Is the taxman playing favourites in avoidance clampdown?

HMRC has been accused of seeking out “easy targets” as it continues its relentless pursuit of tax dodgers.

It comes as the Revenue faces mounting criticism about its handling of the HSBC scandal, which saw thousands of UK-based clients hide their money in overseas accounts. To date, the taxman has secured just one conviction over the matter – a record described as “pathetic” by MPs.

Downing Street has rejected calls for an enquiry into the scandal, with the prime minister’s office claiming that officials have done everything they could to make sure individuals paid what they owe. This prompted the BBC’s flagship Today programme to conduct an investigation into the disparity between HMRC’s attitude to big and small businesses. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Has Labour lost its upper hand in the tax avoidance scandal?

Ed Miliband’s occupation of the moral high ground in the wake of the HSBC tax avoidance scandal looks to have been dealt a blow, as his party’s donor list comes under scrutiny.

A Labour MP has blasted the leader’s acceptance of a £386,605 gift from “Big Four” accountancy firm PwC, warning the company is “extending its tentacles” into the party. It comes as the business was accused of “promoting tax avoidance on an industrial scale.”

Austin Mitchell, a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said: “This is a kind of softening-up process to make us more amenable to the tax avoidance work and advice that PwC are doing.” … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Women take centre stage in self-employment revolution

More women are choosing to embrace self-employment as a way to achieve a positive work/life balance, new figures show.

The latest UK Labour Market report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that there were over 1.4 million women working for themselves between October and December last year, some 3% higher than the previous quarter. This represents a year-on-year increase of 5.6%.

In contrast, the number of women in “traditional” employment limped up by just 2%, while those doing unpaid family work plummeted by 13.5%. Meanwhile, the ONS report showed that just over 3 million men made the leap and set up their own business – a nominal increase of 0.4% compared to the previous year. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Could Generation Y turbo charge contracting take up?

Low workplace morale and a lack of career satisfaction could see more workers abandon the traditional 9-5 regime and make the leap into contracting.

Research from recruitment firm Quarsh reveals that almost a third of employees are planning to switch roles in the next three months, with 10% looking to jump ship immediately. Despite this wealth of potential talent, employers are said to be failing to give candidates a positive first impression, perhaps persuading them to go it alone instead.

Individuals within Generation Y– those born in the 1980s and 90s – were said to be among the most keen for a change, with 12% of respondents in this demographic wanting to switch jobs. This comes after separate research by Elance-oDesk found that more millennials (people reaching adulthood around the year 2000) were choosing to ditch “traditional” employment and be masters of their own destiny. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Taxman’s avoidance guard dog still has no teeth

HMRC’s flagship tax avoidance taskforce is unlikely to deal with its first case in 2015 – despite forming two years ago.

Set up to enforce the Revenue’s General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR), the panel has apparently spent its time setting up internal processes and establishing what information it needs to garner from the taxman in order to efficiently manage cases. It has been suggested that everything had to be set up from scratch, as the legislation did not include any detail on how the group new body would operate.

Patrick Mears, chairman of the GAAR taskforce, admitted: “There’s a bit about what we do when cases come along, but other than that there’s nothing in the legislation or preparatory papers and the GAAR study didn’t go into any detail as to how procedures would work for the panel.” … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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What’s behind the taxman’s slump in IR35 income?

A Treasury minister has been forced to admit a potentially embarrassing drop in revenue from IR35 investigations.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, David Gauke revealed that just £430,000 was recovered through ‘compliance interventions’ in 2013-14 – down from £1.1m the previous year. This represents a 61% drop in revenue.

The significant fall comes despite the number of enquiries holding relatively steady. There were 192 cases brought by HMRC in 2013-14, compared to 256 the previous year. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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