August contractor news round-up
Well, it looks as if summer might be trying to have a final fling, with the sun and warm temperatures reported to make a reappearance. However, with September just around the corner and children about to return to school, we all know autumn’s not far off. It’s hard to believe we’re already rounding up the contractor news for August, the month seems to have flown by – but perhaps that’s because it’s been so action-packed. With lockdown over, we’ve certainly all been doing a lot and our news round-up reflects that.
So, without further ado, what’s been happening in the world of contractors this month?
IR35 is still making headlines for contractors and that’s evident in the story that George Mantides Limited has challenged HMRC in an Upper Tribunal, after receiving a split decision in the First-Tier Tribunal back in 2019. Mantides is a contractor urologist who operates through his own PSC. During the disputed period, he was providing services to two different hospitals, however, the First-tier Tribunal found that one contract was inside IR35, while the other was outside. The case is now going to the Upper Tribunal so that Mantides can dispute the inside ruling.
Speaking of IR35, can you believe we’re now four months in with the new legislation? It’s been an interesting four months, with big changes to the rules for many contractors (although some remain unaffected), big headlines featuring famous names, and nobody quite being able to get their head around HMRC’s CEST tool. Thankfully, we’ve still had our Ask Andy blogs running, allowing you to ask IR35 questions directly to Andy Vessey, Kingsbridge’s Head of Tax. What Andy doesn’t know about IR35 isn’t worth knowing and he’s been answering your questions over on our blog. We originally planned to stop this in May, but while you still have questions, we want to give you answers.
Life after lockdown
We’ve been living without lockdown for more than a month now and for the most part, it’s been amazing – but we know many, many people have found emerging from lockdown just as hard, if not harder, than going into it. Looking after your mental wellbeing post-lockdown is essential and it’s absolutely fine if you only want to stick to outdoor meetings, or don’t fancy getting on public transport just yet. You need to go at your own pace and find a routine that works for you. Of course, it’s also vital that we look after our overall physical and mental health as well, kicking the habits of the sedentary lifestyle that lockdown encouraged and the unhealthy habits many of us developed. The pandemic really shone a spotlight on our health and if we emerge from it ready to look after ourselves better then that’s at least one positive we can take away.
Plenty of contractors are also concerned about money post-lockdown, as the lack of government support for limited company contractors meant that many depleted their savings in order to keep a roof over their head. Saving money will have become a must, but it’s not all about putting huge sums away regularly, taking on board some very simple lifestyle alterations can help contractors keep their finances healthy and enable them to save more, more often.
The other big post-lockdown change is, of course, the way we work. Many businesses have come round to the contractor way of thinking: work flexibly, work remotely, be adaptable. It means that life as a contractor will look different in the future as clients cease to require you to be in their office for meetings, and you perhaps get more opportunity for that flexible working lifestyle you were searching for when you became a contractor.
Is your contractor insurance up to scratch?
As contractors return to work post-lockdown, we’re hearing from lots of you that you need to renew or revise your contractor insurance policies. It’s a great time to check that your business insurance is giving you what you need and that you’re not under-insured. Most contractors know they need public liability cover and professional indemnity, but it’s handy to have a checklist outlining everything else you need and, fortunately, we have one for you, telling you what most contractors need and why, as well as what optional extras you may want to consider.
One of the items on the list is occupational personal accident cover, something a lot of contractors don’t often consider until we mention it. However, many of our customers have described it as a lifeline, providing them with income when they’ve found themselves unable to work due to a work-related injury. One of the downsides of contracting is the lack of a financial safety net in the face of an unexpected injury, so cover of this nature can be beneficial although, naturally, we hope it’s a policy you would never need to use.
And that’s August in the bag. Let’s just hope the warmer weather holds out a bit into September and we’ll see you same time, same place next month.