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HMRC fines over 700,000 self-employed taxpayers

HMRC revealed that after the 2017-18 Self Assessment deadline, a new record was set with 93.5% of people, 10,129,234 to be exact, filing their tax on time. Nevertheless, 731,186 people didn’t and may get a £100 late filing penalty, unless they can prove a genuine excuse for their lateness. The fine increases every day after the due date by £10 for the first 3 months and can reach up to £300.

HMRC have also announced that they will be chasing the nurses and IT workers who avoided tax as early as 1999 through offshore umbrella companies. They currently estimate they are owed as much as 85 million by the 1,700 workers who left the UK to avoid paying the bill.

New Copyright rules set to protect creatives’ work being published online without remuneration

Reuters reported that the European Union is going to rewrite its copyright rules, which are two-decades-old. In doing so, they will force Google and Facebook to share their revenue with creative industries and remove all copyright-protected content that has been shared on YouTube or Instagram.

Licensing agreements will need to be signed by Google, and the like, with rights holders, in order to have permission granted to use their work online. In order to stop creatives being exploited, YouTube and Instagram will need to install upload filters that prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. 

IPSE says it’s the self-employed we have to thank for employment rates being at an all-time high

IPSE supported data released by the ONS, revealing that the number of people in work has risen, yet again, to another record high of 32.6 million. A large proportion of which are self-employed, with numbers having risen from 63,000 to 4.84 million in the final quarter of last year.

However, for those struggling to get work, Universal Credit is not filling the role it is meant to

INews reports that Universal Credit is failing to encourage people to get work, and IPSE is now calling on the government to review how the benefit impacts the self-employed.

The issue arises from the “minimum income floor” or MIF system of measuring how much people are making, if it is assumed that they work 35 hours a week at least and earn minimum wage. If you have a particularly slow month and your assumed earnings are higher than what you actually earn, you can receive what some are referring to as laughable amounts of money.

There is no doubt that the government needs to review the way universal credit, and especially MIF, affects self-employed workers in the UK. Despite the DWP claiming that Universal Credit does not exist as a prop for failing businesses, many people that have flourishing businesses still struggle under Universal Credit.  

IPSE calls late payment the “scourge of self-employed” in the UK

Although IPSE supported the FSB’s calls to stop late-paying businesses from getting government contracts in Scotland, IPSE Senior Policy Advisor, Jonathan Lima-Matthews, warned that the issue runs throughout the UK, not just Scotland: “The culture of late payment is the scourge of the UK’s smallest businesses, the self-employed” as “freelancers have been found to lose a staggering £5,400 a year on average”.

January’s inflation drop will provide an economic boost for freelancers

Self-employed sole traders should benefit from inflation dropping in January to the lowest level its been in two years, according to IPSE, with cheaper electricity and gas prices reducing their overheads.

According to ONS, this drop was helped in part by energy regulator OfGem introducing a price cap on energy bills, along with the drop in fuel prices.

However, IPSE’s economic policy adviser Ryan Barnett commented that this boost will be short lived, when paired with the release of poor economic growth statistics: “Taken together, falling inflation and poor growth statistics could be a sign of the economy weakening in the face of declining global economic performance and Brexit turbulence.”

72% of female business owners say they’re in their dream job role

After surveying 1,500 men and women (made up of 500 business owners, 500 side-business owners, and 500 employees), research from the Recruit Venture Group, found that 75% of female employees are unhappy in their job, but stay for financial security and family reasons, whilst 72% of women who own their own business say they are in their dream job.

The female business owners voted that the best things about being their own boss are: freedom (61%), not reporting to others (42%), making the rules (24%), doing something you enjoy (23%), making more money (21%).

The female side-business owners said that they were held back from making their business a full-time vocation because of money, family arrangement and lack of skills.

Age also seems to play a big factor in preventing women from starting their own businesses, or taking it from a side project to their main job. Results show 40% of the women surveyed started their own business between the ages of 25 and 34, and those who were over 45 reported fears of feeling it was too late for them to start their own business.

But age doesn’t seem to hold men back, so why should women feel that their age prevents them from achieving their goals? A study of 2.7 million founders, between 2007 and 2014, found that for the top 0.1 percent of fastest growing new businesses in the U.S., the average age of the founder in the business’ first year was 45.

Hermes’ new deal with drivers will cost them £10 M

In giving new rights to their self-employed drivers, they are expected to take money away from their potential growth and back into the rights of their workers.

Hermes’ new deal has been hailed as the cornerstone for the new generation of work by the government, and they currently expect 20% to 30% of their employees to sign up to be “self-employed plus”, a position that guarantees holiday pay and the ability to negotiate individual rates.

The Creative Industries collectively generate £92 billion to the UK economy, so why aren’t people investing in them?

One in Eight UK businesses fall within the creative industry category, the contribution of which have a greater economic impact than the UK’s automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined.

But investment in creative businesses is surprisingly absent.

Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, puts this down to the lack of planning that creative businesses have on where investment will take their business:

“Within the UK, 81% of creative businesses reported that they aim to grow over the next three years. Despite this drive to expand, creative enterprises face additional challenges to secure the investment that they require as many do not fully understand the investment in this area or note the benefits that their capital will provide.”

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