Tax deadline 31/01/16 & rumours of change

AWOOGA! Awooga! Once again the noise of "battle stations" alarms sounding. This is your final tax warning. HMRC's tax return deadline of 31 January 2015 waits for no person. If your online tax return's not in, expect automatic three-figure fines. See

Those freelances who receive Working Tax Credit or Working Family Tax Credit should note that the latest version of the Working Tax Credit form tells you that the HMRC sets out that "You won't be eligible if the Tax Credit Office believes your self-employed hours are uncommercial [is that even a word, we ask] or unprofitable. For example, you may not qualify if you don't: make a profit; have good business records; work regularly; try to expand your business.

"You may be investigated if the average hourly profit from your self-employed time is less than the National Minimum Wage. The Tax Credit Office will ask you to provide: business records; other details, like a business plan, if they need more information, eg because you've just started self-employment." (See ).

We've heard of one case of a freelance being asked to provide - as evidence of their work and efforts to solicit more of it - a list of clients. If you feel that HRMC are asking you to provide information which might compromise the confidentiality of your sources, contact the Freelance Office to seek advice.

The Guardian and the Daily Mail reported rumours (leaks, possibly?) that the Treasury is considering introducing a one-month rule for micro-businesses so that if they work more than a month for a client they will be taxed at source. If this is correct, it could be disastrous for freelance members - it would seem to affect those who have set themselves up as a "personal service company." The Mail expressed it as getting 90 per cent of "off the books" workers onto the payroll - and taxed without deducting many expenses.

The NUJ has fought numerous battles over the years for the continued right of regular casuals at media outlets - and for those who work regularly or frequently for the same clients - to remain self-employed, sending in a tax return rather than having tax deducted at source. In practice, most such workers have found they end up deriving little or no advantage in the form of actual unemployment benefit, eligibility for in- work benefits or pension contributions from all those fiddly little micro-deductions at source made on their behalf by numerous different "employers".

Last modified: 09 Dec 2015 - © 2015 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: