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Umbrella company contractor opinions wanted by HMRC

If you’re an umbrella company contractor, freelancer or any other type of sole trader, HMRC wants to hear from you about how it can make itself better.

Umbrella contractors, here’s your chance to change things for the better: the tax authority is currently soliciting feedback and opinions from now until the 11th of May on how it can go about improving its penalty application process. HM Revenue & Customs is specifically asking for ways in which it can differentiate penalties levied on individuals and businesses that might have accidentally missed a payment deadline versus those Brits that have made it a habit of trying to get one over on the system to avoid paying their fair share altogether.

This is potentially good news for any contractor or other self-employed Brit that might have found themselves in hot water accidentally after missing a payment deadline or something similar. When you manage your own business things have a way of slipping through the cracks, and one of these is undoubtedly tax matters. For what it’s worth, I’m rather pleasantly surprised to see the tax authority acknowledging that mistakes and accidents do happen – and that these incidents don’t deserve Draconian responses in the same way that recidivists, repeat offenders, and outright tax dodgers require.

HMRC even says so in the discussion document it released in which it called for opinions on the matter. The taxman acknowledged that the ‘vast majority’ of Brits will meet their obligations properly, and that it only ends up penalising a very small sliver of businesses and individuals every year. HMRC wants to ensure its approach works as well as possible according to the discussion document, adding that it’s time to consider whether it should begin to differentiate between someone who makes an occasional error versus those who are persistently and deliberately not complying with their tax burdens.

IT worker hotspots revealed in new contractor study

When it comes to popular lines of work for umbrella company contractors the IT field is up there at the top, and a new survey shows where in the UK the top is.

A new report from Experts found out exactly where interim IT workers are in the highest demand, measured by the amount of money that firms are willing to pay freelancers and contract workers in the IT sector on a daily basis. Rounding out the top five – unsurprisingly, if you ask me – are London in the top spot, followed closely by Bristol and Manchester and then Glasgow and Edinburgh north of the border.

Experts found that short term IT workers averaged day rates of £417 in London. This is more than one and a half times the average daily pay for Sheffield, the city that was number ten on the list, where temporary IT workers earned around £291 on average. The capital is certainly the epicentre of the IT market when it comes to vacancies – some 72 per cent of them are right in London – but digital sector opportunities are rising rapidly in the regions, believe it or not. This is of course good news for anyone who loathes the capital and would rather not live or work in the region if there’s any way to avoid it.

Honestly I’m not surprised to see such high-paying opportunities for IT contractors and freelancers, as the market has always been almost ridiculously robust. Regardless of much of the rest of the economy, there’s always going to be a strong demand for individuals with solid expertise in technology like cloud computing and server maintenance. This goes double for large-scale firms located in major cities like London, Edinburgh and so on; on top of that interconnectivity means that you don’t have to live and work in a major capital city to gain access to good work opportunities in the IT sector, though of course it definitely helps. Of course, the skills shortage isn’t hurting either. With permanent workers possessing the requisite expertise a bit thin on the ground, firms find themselves turning to interim workers to fill the gaps in the meantime just so they can continue to keep up with supply-side demand. It’s good news for contract workers indeed!


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