Tag Archive | HMRC

Contractors Beware of The Personal Service Company

Being a contractor in the UK requires taking care of your own personal expenses and earnings. With this brings paperwork and the responsibility of managing taxes. Permanent workers don’t have this worry because most companies will have a dedicated finance department.

Before choosing to contract in the UK, the decision of either setting up a limited company, also known as a personal service company, or to simply use an umbrella company. Who will take care of all the tax issues, whilst providing additional benefits.

Both options are chosen on an individual basis, where normally umbrella companies are used for those choosing to contract short term. And limited companies being used for long term contracting. This is because tax savings can be much greater, but will require additional work.

So, What Are Personal Service Companies?

As previously mentioned, when choosing to set up a limited company is usually the result of a contractor seeking to benefit from tax savings and therefore increasing their take home pay. This is possible because limited companies enable contractors to be outside of the IR35 legislation. It is under this company that contractors will be working under, during any client work.

The tax efficiency of limited companies works by splitting a contractors income between their salary and dividends. This results in the contractor not having to pay national insurance contribution in their income. It s also essential for any freelance contractor to use a limited company or umbrella, otherwise no client would employ the contractor.

Here is a quick highlight of the benefits gained when working through a personal service company:

– Can be the most tax efficient way of earning,
– You become your own boss,
– In control of when and where you work,
– Ability to claim expenses,

In 1999 the term ‘personal service company’ was created, by HMRC, shortly after the introduction of IR35. But unfortunately the classification of what can identify limited companies as being a personal service companies is limited. This allows HMRC to be flexible during tax investigations.

The Problems That Exist

Unfortunately for those using this form of managing their payroll, they can often be viewed as attempting to dodge tax. Amongst negative press regarding this issue, the HMRC may be set to introducing new legislation on their use. The new legislation would treat contractors as though they were an employee, therefore requiring to pay national insurance and tax at the source, by their new ’employee’.

This could be a major problem for a large majority of those contracting long-term in the UK. For those currently with an umbrella company need not worry. Although this is an issue that every contractor should be aware of for future reference.

Company Car Or Company Car Allowance – Which Should I Choose

If you have the choice of a Company Car or Company Car Allowance, you should check out how much Company Car Tax (or Benefit In Kind Tax as it is also known) that you would pay if you accept a company vehicle, and then decide whether to go for the Company Car or cash. You could be better off taking the car allowance and leasing a car yourself, even though the allowance is taxable.

The Cash for Car scheme has become increasingly popular with both employers and employees in recent years. Employers save time and money in not having to source, maintain and administer a fleet, although they must always be aware of their Duty of Care and Health & Safety responsibilities. And as an employee, you have more freedom to choose the car you drive, and you could even be better off if you dont spend all of the company car allowance you receive. However, some employers do stipulate the type and age of vehicle that is acceptable, according to the job you are doing.

If you choose to accept a Company Car Allowance, its worth considering Car Leasing vs Buying. Car Leasing (also known as Contract Hire) is simply the hiring of a vehicle for an agreed period of time for a fixed monthly rental. Unlike Short Term Rental or daily rental, a car lease is usually for 2-5 years, after which you can simply hand the car back with no further commitment or, in some case, you may be able to purchase the vehicle if you wish. Car Leasing is a convenient, cost-effective and hassle-free way of financing a new vehicle, and there are many benefits of leasing a car. It enables easy budgeting of your motoring costs, and the fixed monthly payments can even include servicing and maintenance. Also, theres no need to worry about depreciation or disposing of the vehicle at the end of the contract.

Dont forget that if you choose the company car instead of the company car allowance, all your motoring costs (except private fuel) will be taken care of by your employer including insurance, road tax, servicing and repairs. If you choose the company car allowance, you will have to pay for these things yourself.

If you choose a company car allowance and lease a vehicle which you use in the course of your job, youre entitled to claim from your employer a mileage allowance for each business mile travelled. H.M. Revenue & Customs approves certain mileage rates that employees can claim for business travel, and the current rate is 40p per mile. Check the HMRC website for the latest information.

Part way between the company car and a company car allowance is something called Employee Car Ownership. This is where your employer gives you a car allowance, but the company organizes the finance deal and takes care of insurance and running costs. This may also be worth considering if your employer offers such a scheme.