Picked up a new contract last week, which was nice. Close to home, decent rate, interesting work so clearly got something wrong somewhere then. So I have been just a little busy learning the new company and how it works, reading all the material I need to understand and getting to grips with yet another agency’s version of time recording and invoicing. Haven’t quite cracked that bit yet either…
Meanwhile out in the real world, HMG seem to have had a serious case of the vapours. I’ve already had a moan about Danyygate and its misdirected assault on senior Civil Servants. But now they’ve gone from misdirected to utterly barking.
The latest wizard wheeze from those coves in the Remove (aka our government) is to say that if you get more than £220 a day for six months or more, clearly you are an employee and must agree to pay PAYE and NICs on all such income. And we’ll put it in the contract to make sure you do.
Say what? Talk about holey…
for a start, they (the client) are effectively telling you (the Company) how to run your affairs and how to apportion your corporate income. Now I’m no legal eagle, but doesn’t that make the client a shadow director? Let me quote form the excellent (OK, I’m joking) HMRC website:
A shadow director is someone who is not a named director but who directs or controls the company.
It should be remembered that acting as a shadow director is not an offence in itself (unless the person is an undischarged bankrupt or disqualified from being a director). But the existence of a shadow director is a risk indicator. It raises the suspicion that the shadow director is attempting to conceal something by managing the company but not being listed as one of its directors.
Do they really want to go there? But it gets sillier, if that were possible.
Firstly you want to treat me as an employee for tax purposes. OK, so you can pay the Employers’ NICs then. And I want pension cover, sick pay, holiday pay and a few other things. What? I’m a contractor so don’t qualify? OK, so if I’m a freelance contractor, why do I have to pay personal tax on all mycomapny’s income?
And if you sign the contract, ignore that particular provision as being unreasonable and get shopped to HMRC, what then? The rules for IR35 still apply, as does the usual defences, as do the usual win/loss ratios. Curiouser and curiouser, says I, somewhat ungrammatically.
Finally, how did they get to £220 a day as the cutoff, a laughably low figure for a good contractor in any market: even ITCs charge more than that and we know how cheap they are. It couldn’t possibly be that some Lib Dem researcher in Danny’s enclave has worked out there are 260 working days a year and divided that into the bottom of the pay scale for the senior Civil Servant grades, which is £58,400, and ignored emplyers’ NICs, and all the other overheads associated with having a senior employee that usually double the salary to get the cost of employment. They couldn’t be that stupid. Could they?