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.

Contracting newcomers win a lifetime of support

Two new ClearSky clients have got their contracting careers off to the ideal start, after we awarded them a lifetime of free accountancy services.

Along with every other contractor who registered with us during December 2014, Denise Greenan and Raj Basi were entered into a free prize draw to win free accounting for life on our most popular package.

Their names were pulled from the hat, meaning the pair won’t pay a penny for as long as they stay with us on the same package. The prize will potentially save them tens of thousands of pounds over the coming years. … Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

Posted under: News | Leave a comment:

How should I promote my Limited company?

As with any business, bringing in more clients is the number one priority for Limited company contractors. However, the key question is how they should do this.

Promoting a business can seem like a daunting prospect, especially when operating with limited time and resources. Nevertheless, developing an effective marketing strategy could open the door to a wealth of opportunities that you perhaps would not have otherwise discovered.

To help with this, we have created this handy guide – detailing four key points to consider. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Why it’s wise to specialise as an IT contractor

IT contractors who specialise in niche roles have a greater chance of weathering the recent drop in demand, a new survey has shown.

Figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs study reveal that growth in IT freelancer demand has dropped for the fourth month in succession.

This is in sharp contrast to the contractor market as a whole, which has seen the clamour for temporary workers soar at its fastest rate for three months. … Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Chase your contracting dream in 2015

January is traditionally a time when many would-be Limited company directors make the leap and form their own business.

With a record number of new firms being created up and down the country, 2015 is definitely the time to make your contracting dreams a reality. That’s why we’ve launched our fantastic Join Up January promotion, helping you get your business off the ground with less hassle and more money in your pocket.

If you join ClearSky this month, you’ll receive TWO MONTHS’ FREE ACCOUNTING, meaning there’ll be nothing to pay until March 2015. We’re also cutting the cost of going Limited, by offering FREE INCORPORATION – worth up to £120 + VAT. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Taxman’s Twitter service “laughable”, claim MPs

HMRC’s new Twitter advice account has been lambasted by MPs, while ministers and senior management were urged to “sort out” the Revenue’s poor service record.

Billed as a “pilot service to help with general queries”, the @HMRCcustomers account was created as an alternative to calling the taxman’s under-fire helpline. Taxpayers have been urged to tweet their questions “as a supplement to going online and using the telephone.”

The idea has attracted heavy criticism, with Labour MP Margaret Hodge leading the charge. The chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee and a regular thorn in HMRC’s side has branded the scheme “laughable”. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Turkey and tax returns: an unlikely Christmas combination

Never mind jolly, it appears that Christmas is the season to be efficient – as thousands of diligent taxpayers filed their self-assessment tax returns while wrapping gifts and munching turkey.

Figures from HMRC revealed that almost 1,800 submissions were made on the big day itself, with the busiest period being between 12 and 1pm – perhaps while waiting for dinner. A further 17,644 tax returns were filed a day earlier, a 4% increase on the previous year.

There was no festive hangover on Boxing Day either, with 4,811 taxpayers submitting their information. This surge in activity meant that 5% more returns were filed during the entire three-day period than the same time in 2013. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

IR35: Time for stability and certainty

A long-awaited review into the administration of IR35 has received a frosty response from contractors and industry commentators.

In 2012 HMRC adopted a new approach to administering the controversial tax legislation in partnership with the IR35 Forum. The report, which can be viewed here, analyses the effectiveness of the new approach and highlights areas for improvement. … Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Level playing field needed for contractors, claim recruiters

Contractors need improved access to benefits enjoyed by “traditional” workers, a staffing industry trade body has claimed.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) made the call for an independent body to review areas such as income protection and financial products to make life easier for the UK’s army of freelancers. This is just one of the measures outlined as part of its 2014 Manifesto for Jobs – the organisation’s blueprint for creating the “best jobs market in the world”.

Also outlined in the document was a call to evaluate the Universal Credit system to look into whether a tapered benefit system would help those who want to work flexibly, without disenfranchising those who need the most support. … Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Sky-high fines create banking compliance bonanza

A dramatic increase in the severity of penalties imposed on banks has created a surge in demand for financial compliance professionals, a new study has claimed.

Recruitment firm Morgan McKinley’s latest London Employment Monitor revealed that year-to-date fines are already three times higher than those imposed in 2013 – standing at a record £1.39 billion. This, the study claimed, was exacerbating the demand for specialist skills within financial services.

High-profile cases such as the PPI and Libor scandals have made compliance even more essential for financial institutions – while the regulator will want to demonstrate that it is ready to come down hard on those that flout the rules. … Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

Posted under: Uncategorized | Leave a comment:

Taxman slammed for helpline failures

HMRC has once again been hauled over hot coals regarding the support it provides to taxpayers, with a damning study branding its helpline facilities inadequate.

A survey by consumer group Which? revealed that callers were regularly experiencing long delays, with some even lasting up to 41 minutes. On average, taxpayers were on hold for 18 minutes, as the Revenue struggled to meet demand at peak times.

The revelation is one of several embarrassing failures exposed by the study, which also revealed glitches in HMRC’s voice recognition software. Which? found that the system was regularly misinterpreting callers’ reasons for getting in touch and sending them to the wrong department. … Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

Posted under: Tax issues | 1