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Fines, more fines and some beatings inflicted on Deliveroo drivers in Dublin. This week’s News Roundup is, unfortunately, not looking as sunny as the weather, but nevertheless, we feel it’s important to keep you clued up on all Freelance News.

The Government needs to be putting deals in place to protect freelancers before Brexit, says IPSE

Never have I heard the word “uncertainty” muttered more than in the last few months with the run-up to the Brexit deal deadline. But yes, uncertainty is paramount in Britain at the moment, so what can we do to quell this?

According to Jordan Marshall, Policy Development Manager at IPSE the government should be putting in place a deal to support the UK’s financial services and creative industries, in order to make Britain’s transition into life post-Brexit smoother. Here, here.

“Uncertainty” over Brexit tips the scales both ways

Uncertainty means good and bad news for the self-employed. On the one hand, you have workers not wanting to make long-term decisions when it comes to hiring new clients or expanding their business, which makes hiring freelancers a more preferable alternative at the moment.

In fact, the last 3 months of 2018 saw a pay boost for freelancers, with day rates increasing by 21% and average quarterly income rising to  £24,776. This is the highest freelance income has been since quarter three of 2017. What’s more, 54% of freelancers are expecting their rates to continue increasing throughout 2019.

Yet, the nature of self-employed contracts is uncertain as it is, but with Brexit doom hovering on the horizon clients may take advantage of the ease of cancelling contracts with freelancers, suddenly leaving individuals without work due to lack of funds.

£2.5 billion is owed to HMRC by freelancers in a tax-avoidance scandal

50,000 freelancers, made up of pilots, nurses, oil and gas workers and management consultants, are being chased for tax avoidance, with fines totalling up to £2.5 billion. The average freelancer is set to owe HMRC £50,000.

These claims of national insurance and income tax avoidance are said to have occurred through enrollment schemes with offshore “umbrella” companies going back 20 years. These are known as disguised remuneration schemes, which have allowed workers to receive 85-95% of their fees tax-free.

Although many freelancers are up in arms, claiming they had no knowledge of tax-avoidance and some are insisting that they were repeatedly told these schemes were “approved by barristers”. But HMRC isn’t accepting any of it, believing that guilty individuals must have known that these schemes were too good to be true.

Making Tax Digital is another thing to be worrying about after Britain leaves the EU

One million self-employed people are bracing themselves for the burden of the new digital tax scheme, which will be introduced only days after Britain leaves the EU. As if small business owners don’t have enough to worry about post-Brexit, the government are forcing the great burden of MTD onto their shoulders starting on April 1st.

If you make a turnover of over the £85,000 VAT threshold you must record your tax with digital software. Only software that’s been approved by HMRC will be accepted, so make sure you are complying with their rules from the off-set.

Are you guilty of filing your taxes late? Don’t think you’ve got away with not paying that £100 fine

If you didn’t quite make the January 31st tax deadline, you might be convincing yourself it’s gone unnoticed. Maybe you thought that HMRC was cutting you some slack? Ha, of course not!

HMRC would like to remind those who were late submitting their self-assessment tax that they have not forgotten, and your £100 fine is definitely on its way.

You might be waiting until the end of April for this hefty surprise, due to a hold up with Brexit contingency planning, but no, I’m afraid to say you haven’t been spared.

Google might be ending arbitration agreements for its employees, but not for the majority of its workers

Google has somewhat given in to the mass walkout of thousands of its workers and has agreed to end arbitration agreements in its employee contracts, starting on 21st March. Arbitration agreements force workers to take all legal disputes to private arbitration, which offers no judge, jury and almost no government oversight.

But with sexual harassment and discrimination claims amongst Google employees becoming so widely known, they’ve agreed to give their employees the right to sue them for misconduct if they so wish.

However, this change does not apply to contractors or temp workers, even though the majority of Google’s workforce are contract workers, and therefore outnumber its full-timers. What’s up with that Google?

Deliveroo riders are being beaten up and robbed by youth gangs

Dublin based Deliveroo riders have reported being attacked by gangs of youths when on their delivery journeys. Around 100 Deliveroo workers protested outside Deliveroo’s headquarters to stand up against these violent attacks, that are, according to its riders, aimed at immigrants.

One rider, Francisco Teruliano de Oliviera Neto, left Dublin two weeks early returning to his home in Brazil after being severely attacked by a gang who beat him with baseball bats, stole his phone and stole €850 from him.

A Deliveroo spokesperson urges its riders to report all future attacks to them so that they can liaise with the gardaí police service, saying: “We are deeply concerned about the incident that took place on the streets of Dublin this week

“Riders in Dublin often go above and beyond in support of the community. We are in contact with the authorities about what actions can be taken.”

Although riders aren’t employed by Deliveroo, they are entitled to claim medical expenses which arise from injuries on the job.

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