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.

Contractors’ guide to Employment Allowance

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

The arrival of the new tax year has seen the launch of the government’s latest job-creation incentive for employers.

The Employment Allowance, first announced at Budget 2013, will enable more than 1.25m UK businesses and charities to reduce their Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) by up to £2,000 a year. Continue reading

IR35: House of Lords urges taxman to raise its game

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

Following months of evidence gathering, the House of Lords select committee on personal service companies (PSCs) delivered its verdict last week.

The hotly-anticipated report calls on HMRC to do more to justify the ongoing existence of IR35, and questions the effectiveness of the tax legislation as a tool for policing Britain’s flexible workforce.

It also casts doubt on the £550m figure cited by the taxman as the amount of tax and National Insurance that could be lost by the Exchequer should IR35 be abolished. Continue reading

IR35: how contractors can stay compliant

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

Since its introduction 14 years ago, IR35 has been a source of confusion and anxiety for many Limited company contractors.

The controversial piece of tax legislation has been making headlines again in recent days, with the House of Lords select committee on personal service companies publishing a highly critical report calling on HMRC to do more to justify IR35’s existence.

We’ll be publishing a blog post summarising the report and industry reaction to it in the coming days, so watch this space. Continue reading

How to switch contractor accountant

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

There may come a time when, for one reason or another, the relationship between you and your accountant must come to an end.

Perhaps you’ve outgrown the range of services on offer, or maybe you’re unhappy after receiving bad advice.

Whatever the reason, it’s imperative that the switch to your new accountant is handled in the smoothest way possible. Continue reading

Budget 2014: how the pension reforms will affect contractors

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

With savers at the heart of his 2014 Budget speech, chancellor George Osborne unveiled the most radical shake-up of the British pensions system in almost a century.

Under the new, liberalised regime, savers will have complete control over how they access and withdraw cash from their retirement fund. By giving individuals greater freedom over how and when they spend their pension pot, it is hoped they will be incentivised to save more during their working life.

With more than 13 million Britons set to benefit from the pension reforms, several of which have already been enacted, we analyse how Limited company contractors will be affected. Continue reading

Is HMRC waging war on contractors and freelancers?

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

HMRC has been accused of employing “incredibly damaging” tactics against Limited company contractors as part of its latest campaign.

According to freelancer representation group PCG, the taxman has been writing directly to contractors’ clients in order to obtain certain ‘sensitive information’.

The letters are said to demand the contractor’s name along with their passport number, National Insurance (NI) number and company VAT number. Continue reading

Budget 2014: what you need to know

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

In his fifth such address to the House of Commons, George Osborne has delivered what he described as “a Budget for makers, doers and savers.”

There was no mention of IR35, and no additional red tape for contractors to contend with, causing news site Contractor Calculator to describe the Budget as ‘relatively contractor-neutral’.

Here we summarise the announcements that are most likely to affect Limited company contractors. Continue reading

App economy energises the disrupters of tomorrow

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

Bursting with tenacity, drive, talent and ambition, the younger generation is flying the flag for entrepreneurialism in the UK.

Indeed, according to recent figures, more than 27,000 people aged 21 or under are currently listed as the director of a Limited company.

Separate data suggests that members of Generation Y (those born between 1981 and 1995) account for 15% of the 3.36 million active company directors in the UK. Continue reading

2014 contractor outlook: the stage is set for a remarkable year

Posted on by Jennifer Whittaker

It seems that 2014 is shaping up to be an exceptional year for the contracting community, with several surveys reporting an increase in demand for Britain’s skilled workforce.

Despite several years of stagnation, the economic recovery is finally beginning to gather pace. Statistics around business confidence and job creation show that the UK is waving goodbye to the recent downturn and welcoming a new era of growth and prosperity.

According to the Employment Index, hiring intentions in the UK have reached a 30-month high, as firms plan to employ more staff members over the next six months than they have for almost the past two years. Continue reading