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Four in 10 British businesses considering phasing out contractors due to IR35 changes

Recent headlines have told their own story about how unfavorably the British contracting profession and the businesses that use independent professionals’ services look upon the reform of off-payroll working rules that will be extended to the private sector in April.

Now, even further evidence of the changes’ likely detrimental impact has emerged, with a new survey finding that many companies are considering whether they should even still use contractors as a consequence.

What did the poll discover?

As reported by AccountancyAge and other leading websites serving independent workers, more than 1,500 business owners were quizzed, with a whopping 41% of them indicating that they planned to review their processes in relation to procuring contractors, due to IR35.

The new rules – which will hold companies responsible for whether a contractor should be considered an independent professional, or instead a full-time employee, with the implications this has for the setting-up of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance contributions (NICs) – have already been the subject of considerable concern.

Many of those looking to contract in the UK, or already doing so, have expressed their fears that the changes could make them less employable in the eyes of many companies. Unfortunately, the findings of this widely reported poll will do little to reassure them.

21% of the firms questioned, for instance, confirmed that they had already switched to statement of work contracts (SoWs). Meanwhile, 11% of those polled said that they intended to take the more drastic action of decreasing the overall number of contractors used in their business.

Partner with the right company to lessen your payroll worries throughout 2020

Whether or not the imminent IR35 changes are influencing your own decisions on accepting or rejecting contracting opportunities in the UK, there’s no doubt that such transformations in the legislative landscape must be heeded and planned for as needed.

That’s why so many independent professionals working around the world make Link Global Management their top choice of global payroll vendor.

While, like other key players in this industry, we are greatly concerned here at Link Global Management about the impact the planned off-payroll reform could have on the firms and contractors that we serve, we will always strive to help you make the most of whatever environment you encounter as an independent worker.

Contact our professional and diligent team today by phone or email, and we will give you the advice and assistance that you require as an organization or contractor in light of changes like IR35 – much as you would expect from any responsible global payroll vendor – so that you can spend more time focusing on your core responsibilities.

 

Link Global is changing to Workr International

We’re happy to announce that in a few weeks, Link Global Management will change its name to Workr International as it strengthens it’s position as the Workr Group’s international contractor services provider.

The Workr Group was set up in 2014 with the purpose of simplifying the world of flexible working. Link has been part of the Workr Group since September 2016.  In this time we have been working in partnership with the wider group of companies and established an excellent team spirit.  As a result, we felt it was a natural progression for the Link brand to become Workr International. More importantly it provides numerous benefits for our clients who will benefit from the connected excellence.

The change will mean https://www.linkglobalmanagement.com will be replaced by our new Workr website.

Smooth transition

There will be no disruption to our service; our contact numbers and email addresses will still work, though we will also have new email addresses to reflect the name change.  Both will work, so you have more ways of contacting us.  We will contact all our clients and stakeholders with more specific details closer to the time.

Why the rebrand?

The change will allow us to provide enhanced and complementary services, across a wider geography, all underpinned by the consistent quality service you have become familiar with.  In addition to international contractor services, the Workr Group also provides specialist accounting and personal tax services, and award-winning UK Umbrella employment services.  It means despite any change to your circumstances we can still be your trusted advisor and enable your future success.

This is an exciting time for us and we look forward to supporting you with your work throughout 2020.

UK’s controversial changes to off-payroll rules will go ahead, despite review announcement

One development that has recently caused no shortage of consternation among independent professionals in the UK is the reform of IR35 rules that will apply to the private sector from April this year.

Now, the British government has finally said that it will be reviewing the impending changes – albeit, with no plans to temporarily call a halt to the changes themselves.

Government aims for “smooth and successful implementation”

A statement from HM Treasury said it was launching a review of changes to off-payroll working rules “to address any concerns from businesses and affected individuals about how they will be implemented.”

The announcement continued: “The review will determine if any further steps can be taken to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the reforms, which are due to come into force in April 2020.

“As part of this, the review will also assess whether any additional support is needed to ensure that the self-employed, who are not in scope of the rules, are not impacted.”

Industry figures disappointed by the lack of postponement

Representatives of the contracting sector in the UK seemed generally unimpressed by the government’s confirmation that the IR35 rule changes would still proceed.

Among them was ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin, who said: “The announcement of this review was a clear opportunity for the Treasury to rule out delay of the new Off-Payroll Tax.

“The fact that the proposed April 2020 rollout is going ahead while the legislation is under review suggests that this government doesn’t have the best interests of the freelance sector and indeed, UK plc at heart.”

However, Chaplin suggested that all was not yet lost for the hopes of contractors, clients and intermediaries eager to stop the changes or at least persuade the government to “soften the blow” of what he described as a “contract jobs-killing measure”.

He called for affected parties to “urgently write to their MP and the Chancellor and request a delay, explaining the impact it will have on their business.”

Meanwhile, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid having suggested in late November in the run-up to the general election that he wanted to “look… again” at the “proposed changes to IR35”, there were accusations from some that he had misled the contractor industry.

As quoted by the ContractorUK website, Julia Kermode, CEO of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), suggested that the newly announced review focusing on “the implementation of the reforms rather than the reforms themselves” was not what Mr Javid had “suggested” previously.

She said such a slimmed-down scope for the review was “not what is needed”, adding that she feared it was “simply the government paying lip-service to empty election promises and [is] nothing short of an insult.”

Whatever regulatory environment awaits you in 2020, we stand ready to assist

We are at the onset of a New Year, and with it, the prospect of continued evolution in the legislative landscape that independent professionals like you will need to get to grips with.

So, wherever you are presently working or intend to work around the globe in 2020, why look further than Link Global Management among the potential companies to partner with, to ensure you benefit from the best in tax-compliant payroll solutions?

Simply enquire today, and we’ll advise and guide you through your options for getting the most out of your overseas working arrangements in the months and year ahead.

 

5 factors to bear in mind before agreeing to contract in France

A New Year is often regarded as synonymous with new beginnings. However, one thing that is unlikely to change much in 2020 is the enduring popularity of France as a place for independent professionals from around the world to contract.

Associated with the finest in cuisine, fashion and the arts, France remains a sought-after contracting destination, even putting aside the merits of the professional opportunities that contractors may be offered in the country.

So, what are some of the less ‘glamorous’ aspects of life as a contractor in France that you should be mindful of before committing to a move to this part of Europe?

Your need for a visa or work permit

The good news is that if you are a national of a country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not require a work permit in order to take advantage of professional openings in France. Otherwise, it is likely that you will need to formally seek a visa and work permit, as our own contractor accountants in France can advise you on.

Your tax obligations

The tax rates and bands to which you are subject in France will depend on your earnings level and marital or family status. Income tax rates in the country in 2019, for example, ranged from 0% for those earning up to €9,964, right up to more than 40% for workers with incomes of €73,779 upwards.

Your travel plans beyond France

Will your line of work as a contractor in France necessitate you crossing national borders? If so, our contractor accountants in France would remind you that as the country is a signatory of the Schengen Treaty, alongside such other nations as Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Italy, you will be able to travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.

Your healthcare needs

France is noted for the quality and accessibility of its healthcare system, even for those coming from overseas. Temporary visitors to the country from the EU, EEA or Switzerland are able to access public healthcare if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), while foreigners can enjoy state healthcare through the Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA) system if they have resided in the country for longer than three months.

Your employment status

If you are looking to work in this culturally diverse and rewarding country on a contract basis in 2020, don’t hesitate to speak to our contractor accountants in France here at Link Global Management. There’s much that you will need to pay close attention to if you are to minimize your tax and social security liabilities here, while remaining on the right side of French legislation. Partner with us, and we will help you to achieve precisely this, while also taking care of your French tax return every year.

Few organizations are as renowned as ours when it comes to keeping track of ever-evolving requirements in relation to tax and payroll for contractors around the globe – so why contact any other firm to request such specialized expertise?

Call +44 (0)203 829 7221 or send our team an email to discuss your most specific requirements for your contracting activities in 2020, and how we could best serve you in meeting them.

 

You might be surprised by what you encounter as a Bosnia-based contractor

The southeastern European state of Bosnia and Herzegovina – also often referred to as Bosnia-Herzegovina or even, informally, just ‘Bosnia’ – is far from the most obvious destination for independent professionals. Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that this once war-torn part of the Balkan Peninsula has been reinventing itself in some style in recent years.

A country that dispels many preconceptions

If your enduring perception of Bosnia derives from scenes of conflict on the TV news in the 1990s, you may be surprised by the dynamism the country now shows as an economic power in the region. The nation’s economy can be broadly divided into the three main sectors of services, industry and agriculture, with tourism continuing to be a particular focus for growth.

As one might expect given its complicated history, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a somewhat complicated place to live today. This is due to not only the country’s ethnic diversity – Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslim) and Croats (Bosnian Catholic) being joined by Serbs, who are Orthodox Christians – but also the Bosnian language, which shares strong similarities with Serbian and Croatian, but is nonetheless classified as its own language. The demographics of some parts of the country today also differ somewhat from the situation in pre-war Bosnia.

What requirements must you fulfill to work here?

While Bosnia-Herzegovina is a candidate for membership of the European Union (EU), it is not yet an EU member. This means that regardless of whether or not you are an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) national, you will need to obtain a work permit in order to work in the country.

The process of securing a work permit for Bosnia-Herzegovina can be a long one, so contractors are always urged to apply in advance. You will need to first be offered a job in the country, given that it is your prospective employer that will need to apply to the nation’s Employment Service on your behalf. This will be followed by the Federal Employment Agency issuing an approval for the employment of foreign persons for your prospective place of work, after which, you will be able to apply through your local embassy or consulate.

Once issued, a work permit will usually only be active for a period of up to one year. It should also be noted that Bosnia differs from many other European countries in that it applies a flat 10% income tax rate to all income from employment, interest, royalties and capital gains – as opposed to the progressive, sliding scale system frequently used elsewhere. This may help to make Bosnia-Herzegovina an especially attractive contracting destination if you are a high earner.

We can help to ease your transition to overseas contracting 

As a trusted provider of umbrella employment solutions and HR outsourcing services across Europe and the wider world, Link Global Management assists recruitment agencies and contractors alike with their involvement in the Bosnian labor market.

Simply call +44 (0)203 829 7221 or send our team an email today to learn more about how we can address your most discerning needs with our specialized expertise.

 

 

Your guide to contracting in Germany in 2020

Of all of the New Year resolutions you might be tempted to set yourself, our team here at Link Global Management can understand if your principal aim is to become an independent professional in Germany.

After all, this central and western European country is one of the continent’s leading destinations for contractors, as well as the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP. You can therefore expect plentiful opportunities here – especially in the tech and energy sectors that have been particular points of focus in recent years.

Putting aside the technicalities of contracting here, life in Germany also affords you the chance of a highly rewarding lifestyle, encompassing fine gastronomy across the country’s thriving food and drink scenes, as well as hiking around its no fewer than 16 jaw-dropping national parks.

What are the basic details you need to know when contemplating moving here?

Key to any contracting in Germany guide is an explanation of how you can relocate here in the first place. Those coming to the country from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland will need to have a work permit linked to their residence status in Germany.

If you choose to live in Germany for longer than three months, you will require a residence permit or ‘Aufenthaltserlaubnis’, of which two types now exist. You can apply for the permit type of relevance to you at your local immigration office, or ‘Ausländerbehörde’.

As for what you will require to qualify for this residence permit, this will differ depending on your status. However, you can at least expect to need to supply a valid passport, proof that you have a place to live, and proof of an ability to support yourself.

The length of your spell in Germany will affect your tax situation

Living in Germany for less than six months, or 183 days, will mean you are only required to pay tax on your income earned in Germany. In the event that you stay for longer than 183 days, however, you will need to pay German income tax on the income you earn worldwide.

However, any double tax treaty between Germany and the country you have come from may affect this, which is why you should familiarize yourself with the details of the situation before you make your move.

Discuss your New Year contracting plans with Link Global Management

While we could go into much more detail with our contracting in Germany guide, it is important to realize that every independent professional’s circumstances are different. You will therefore be able to best establish the right arrangements for you in your new country by first talking to informed experts like ours.

Simply enquire by email or phone to the Link Global Management team today, then, and you can start making the decisive steps towards ensuring your situation is a highly advantageous one when you do finally come to contract in Germany.

 

How is the ongoing Brexit uncertainty affecting demand for IT contractors in the UK?

The complex and uncertain picture that continues to prevail around the United Kingdom’s (UK) impending departure from the European Union (EU) was prolonged recently, with the news that the Brexit deadline – previously set for 31st October – had been pushed back again, to 31st January 2020.

It’s unsurprising, then, that this is continuing to have certain observable effects on the decisions of the UK’s recruitment agencies and contractors alike.

One demonstration of this was to be found in the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) Report on Jobs, which gave last month’s IT contractor demand a score of 50.2. This compared to the 51.2 score that was recorded for September, and with a 50.0+ score indicating monthly growth, suggests that contract IT skills demand only marginally grew during October.

What does such a trend in the figures tell us?

One thing these figures certainly signal is that back in September – when the October deadline was still looming large – there was greater demand for IT freelancers. This is perhaps attributable at least partly to the fact that such independent professionals can be more easily picked up and dropped as conditions require, unlike the situation with permanent staff.

However, after the Brexit uncertainty was reduced slightly due to the deadline being delayed to the end of January, the full-time IT market suddenly bounced back, posting more vacancies than any other sector.

The skills picture tells a similar story

Another indication of demand for IT contractors having become a little more subdued since the Brexit deadline was extended can be found in the lists of ‘scarce skills’ that IT staff end-users are actively seeking.

There were no fewer than 11 such skills being sought in permanent IT staff, the REC’s agents said – namely data, data science, CAD, development, digital, software, technical sales, technology, IT, analysis, and automation testing.

However, the equivalent rundown of hard-to-source skills for temporary IT personnel was just eight-strong, including data science, development, CAD, IT, technology, programming, software engineering and Python.

We’ll help you to ride the ups and downs of IT contractor demand

As the third UK general election in barely four and a half years gets underway and the various party leaders make their case to the country, it is difficult to predict precisely how the Brexit situation may be shaping up even in just a month’s time.

As a consequence, the UK contracting opportunities that come your way as an independent IT professional may be similarly difficult to foresee. Similarly, if you are a recruitment agency, you may find yourself needing to act swiftly in response to the latest developments.

Here at Link Global Management, we are proud to serve as indispensable partners for contractors and agencies alike, through the provision of services ranging from tax planning advice to outsourced global payroll solutions.

If, then, you feel the need to call upon any of our wide-ranging expertise, you are welcome to do so, simply by calling +44 (0)203 829 7221 or enquiring via email.

 

San Francisco ‘most lucrative’ part of the world in which to contract in 2019

If you are a contractor currently based in the UK but comparing international destinations for your next opportunity as an independent professional, where should you be looking?

That question has been given an answer by a recent analysis reported by the ContractorUK website. It found that San Francisco, California rankest highest in terms of the annual disposable income that contractors could enjoy, coming in at €99,920 once taxes, social security and living costs were taken care of.

Such a finding should not surprise many people given that San Francisco is, after all, a focal point for professionals from around the world who are attracted to the lucrative openings offered by Silicon Valley. However, there were also some slightly more striking discoveries in the final rundown of the cities that contractors should consider from a take-home pay perspective.

A poor showing for European nations

San Francisco was not the only US city to feature in the top 10, as New York City came in sixth, recording €70,168 in annual disposable income for its contractors.

The American cities both fared strongly in the analysis with regard to headline salary for their independent professionals – this figure being a stellar €299,000 for San Francisco contractors.

However, both San Francisco and New York suffer from high living costs – particularly with regard to housing – that might serve to make them less attractive overall destinations for British contractors eager to maximize how much cash they get to keep in their pocket.

Nonetheless, the two US cities in the final top 10 is still twice as much as the whole of Europe managed; the only representative of the Old Continent was Zurich in Switzerland. However, annual disposable income recorded for contractors here was only a shade behind San Francisco’s figure, at a very respectable €99,273.

What other eye-catching results did the analysis throw up?

Much of the rest of the top 10 was made up of Asian destinations such as Shanghai in China (€85,081), Mumbai in India (€73,812) and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (€71,370) – a reflection of the continued growth of these economies.

Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Singapore also all featured in the top 10, bringing contractors annual disposable incomes of €68,467, €61,084 and €55,889 respectively.

Rounding out the list was the Australian city of Sydney, where contractors can anticipate annual disposable income amounting to €42,335.

Wherever you’re contracting in 2020 and beyond, don’t hesitate to work with us

Whether or not you will be working in one of the aforementioned most lucrative destinations for independent professionals in the months or years ahead, you can count on Link Global Management to provide you with the highest standard of specialized assistance and guidance.

Our contractor accountants in Norway, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Turkey, the UAE, Australia and many other parts of the world are ready and available to answer your call. As a consequence, you will be able to get the very best out of your time as an overseas contractor, almost anywhere you happen to go.

 

Visiting Lapland isn’t the only alluring opportunity for those who contract in Finland

When many of us think of the Nordic nation of Finland, particularly at this time of year, we may be initially inclined to picture the Lapland region to the very north of the country. It is to here – the famous home of Santa Claus himself – that many tourists flock, captivated by the opportunity to revel in the magical Christmassy atmosphere the area presents.

But of course, if you are contemplating becoming a contractor in Finland, it is not only the chance to do a spot of sightseeing that you will wish to think about and prepare for.

So, what are some of the legal, tax and practical issues you must be mindful of if you do spend time here as an independent professional?

How easy is it to become a contractor in this intriguing Northern European country?

This will naturally largely depend on your status. If you are an EU/EEA national, you will not require an employee’s residence permit. But if you are from outside the EU or EEA, you will not be able to work in Finland unless you have either an employee’s residence permit or an ordinary resident’s permit.

It is generally the former of these two types of permit that you will require, with an opinion needing to be sought from the employment office prior to the Finnish Immigration Service’s final decision.

One factor that may well help you to become a contractor in Finland is the country’s significant skills shortage, with recent reports indicating that as many as two thirds of businesses here are facing “considerable to moderate” difficulties finding skilled workers.

What about the tax situation?

If you spend less than six months contracting in Finland, you will have a limited tax liability, only being taxed on income sourced in the country. In the event of your time here exceeding six months, however, you will be liable for tax on your worldwide income. On this basis, your income will be taxable from day one of your contract, regardless of your contract length.

We can help you to make the smoothest transition to Finnish life

It’s not difficult to understand why so many prospective overseas contractors seek out opportunities in Finland. As well as the many professional openings that the country presents – thanks to a burgeoning economy driven by innovation and cutting-edge technology – the country has a reputation as one of the happiest and safest in the world, while providing favorable conditions for workers.

This does not mean, however, that you won’t face certain challenges in your efforts to plan and adjust to a new life as a professional in Finland.

Here at Link Global Management, we can provide the advice and assistance that will enable you to achieve as hassle-free a transition as possible, so that your time and efforts can be focused squarely on the personal and business opportunities Finland gives you.

Simply call +44 (0)203 829 7221 today to learn more about the global contractor accounting solutions that we can provide for your benefit when you are looking to contract in Finland.

 

 

Contractor sector expresses disappointment at latest HMRC off-payroll guidance

If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was hoping for its recent official IR35 briefing note on reform to the off-payroll working rules from April 2020 to reassure the UK’s contractors and those who assist them, it appears this was very far from the reality.

Indeed, the ContractorUK website said that all five industry advisers it contacted about the 900-word IR35 guidance – issued on 22nd October – “gave underwhelmed, cautious or just plain negative assessments.”

“There’s simply nothing new here”

HMRC has defended its looming reform to the rules by stating it “estimates that, outside of the public sector, only one in 10 people who should be paying tax under the current off-payroll working rules are doing so correctly.

“These reforms will ensure the right amount of tax is collected. This will level the playing field between those who were applying the rules and those who were not… contractors who are following the existing rules correctly will feel little impact.”

However, one of the observers quoted by the ContractorUK story that took a dim view of HMRC’s briefing note was a law firm that described it as “not as yet the substantive and detailed guidance that the recruitment industry and its clients want and need.”

Meanwhile, a somewhat less diplomatic provider of payroll and accountancy services said: “Bar one or two interesting statements, there’s simply nothing new here.”

IPSE condemns ‘cold comfort’ provided by the note

Deputy Director of Policy for the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), Andy Chamberlain, was no more approving of the briefing, which he dismissed as “cold comfort to the millions of self-employed who are worried about the looming disaster for the sector when the changes to IR35 come into force next April.”

He added, referring to HMRC’s claim that legitimately self-employed people ‘will feel little impact’ from the changes: “Tell this is the thousands of contractors working for Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Tesco Bank who have already been told they must move into umbrella companies, go PAYE or cease contracting for these organizations altogether. There will likely be more such damaging decisions as April approaches.”

Chamberlain also voiced his discontent at HMRC “still stubbornly standing by the CEST tool, which is the source of so many IR35 woes. HMRC has lost the vast majority of IR35 tribunal cases since 2017 – based on CEST tool rulings.” His words contrasted with the department’s insistence that “the tool provides accurate results and HMRC will stand by the result produced by the tool provided the information input is accurate and the tool is used in accordance with our guidance.”

Allow the Link Global Management team to point you in the right direction

Are you a prospective or current contractor in the UK who would appreciate guidance on tax and payroll matters from knowledgeable and experienced professionals?

If so, you are welcome to enquire to the Link Global Management team today to receive the benefit of our informed and independent advice on contracting overseas, wherever your career may take you during the rest of 2019, 2020 and beyond.

 

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