Contractor news round-up: November 2021

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Sarah Henderson
26 Nov 2021 @ 10:52 am
in category:

We don’t want to panic anyone, but have you
noticed that it appears to be the end of November already? How on earth did we
get to Advent calendar and mince pie territory so quickly? This time next week
we’ll be writing Christmas-themed blogs and getting ready for the end of 2021
and it feels as if November has gone by in a blink of the eye. But that doesn’t
mean that the month wasn’t jam-packed with contractor news.

As ever in the contracting world, it’s been
a busy month for IR35 stories, but also news of bounce back loan fraud as well.
Then we’ve had some questions about employers’ liability that we wanted to
answer for you, and a round-up of some of the best refer-a-friend offers
that can save you money at this expensive time of year. So, without further
ado, this was the month that was…

Former Sky Sports presenter loses IR35 appeal

One of the big headlines in the world of
IR35 this month was that former Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark lost his IR35
appeal, carrying a tax liability of more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Clark’s limited company, Little Piece of Paradise, carried out work for Sky
presenting darts and boxing until his retirement in 2020. HMRC have claimed for
taxes underpaid between 2013 and 2018. Unfortunately for Clark, Little Piece of
Paradise failed all three of the main tests for employment status: personal
service, mutuality of obligation (MOO), and right of control. This meant that
the tribunal rejected his appeal.

You can read Andy Vessey’s assessment of
the case over
on our blog

Speaking of Andy and IR35, your questions
on the off-payroll rules continue to pour in. This month, Andy has been
answering questions on which aspects of a contract can affect your IR35 status.
This includes zero-hour contracts, training courses, and who supplies
equipment. Find out all the answers – and how to submit your own question – in
the Ask
Andy blog

Bounce back loan fraud sees three company directors banned

The bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) was
introduced as part of the government’s coronavirus financial support package to
help businesses navigate the effect of the pandemic, allowing small-to-medium
businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover, with a
maximum loan of £50,000 available. Essentially, they were commercially
available loans guaranteed by the government.

Of course, they came with restrictions to
prevent their abuse, specifying what the BBLS could and couldn’t be used for
and why it should be applied for. The Insolvency Service was even granted
retrospective powers allowing them to investigate instances of BBLS fraud, even
after the company has been dissolved. But, predictably some business owners
have misused the scheme and the Insolvency Service have been using these powers
to punish them. In recent weeks and months, no less than three company
directors have lost the right to become company directors again.

You can read all about it on our blog on the
back loan fraud
, for an overview of the three individual cases and find out
about how you can ensure you are legally compliant as a contractor.

What is employers’ liability?

Employers’ liability insurance is one that
leaves many contractors scratching their heads. The question we get asked a lot
is: “why do I need employers’ liability cover when I’m the only person in my
limited company?” The answer is, quite simply, because many clients include it
as a standard obligation in their contracts, as do recruiters. But there are
other benefits to having it in place too. For instance, it reinforces for HMRC
that any substitution clauses in your contract are, in fact, genuine and demonstrates
that you are taking on financial risk.

To help break down employers’ liability,
we’ve written a useful guide covering:

– What employers’ liability cover
actually is;

– What example claims might look

– Why you need employers’
liability as a contractor;

– The levels of cover available.

You can read the guide and get answers to
all of the above in the Contractor
Guides section of our blog

It pays to refer your friends

We all know how great it feels to be able
to recommend a product or service to a friend. When you’ve had a great
experience, you want to tell people about it to make sure they can have a great
experience too – and it feels good to share the love. Of course, it feels even
better when there’s a refer-a-friend deal to take advantage of too.

We’ve had a scout around and pulled
together 10
of the best refer-a-friend deals
out there at the moment. If one of the
ones we’ve included is a service you already use, recommend a friend but be
sure to tell them about the offer so that you can be rewarded for it when they
sign up. If you are looking to sign up for one of those we’ve picked, then find
out if anyone you know already uses them – you might both get a bonus out
of something you were planning on signing up for anyway.

We may have cheekily included our own in
there too, which includes not only a great offer, but also a prize draw.

Christmas is round the corner

When you hear from us next month, we’ll
have our novelty PJs on, we’ll be sipping a hot chocolate, and we’ll almost
certainly be watching a cheesy Christmas movie. We actually have an idea for
one about a high flying insurance investigator who discovers the true meaning
of Christmas while on a job in a quirky, festive small town. We call it Under(writing)
the Mistletoe
… No? We digress.

If you want to speak to our friendly team
of insurance experts about your contractor insurance, or just help us out with
our Christmas film ideas, feel free to get in touch.