Year on year, the number of UK taxpayers that are being targeting by fraudsters disguising themselves as HMRC via email is increasing, looking more genuine each time.
There is always a peak of fraudulent emails sent out between April and July as this is the time when HMRC issue tax credit renewals and refunds. The advice from HMRC is to not be duped by these emails. They are becoming more sophisticated and look ‘real’ but HMRC would never contact you by email in order to update their records. They would also never request payment information or personal details by email.
In 2012, there were 22,000 fraudulent emails reported to HMRC though it is likely there were many that went unreported. By giving the personal details requested in these fraudulent emails, you risk these identity thieves raiding your bank accounts, taking out credit cards in your name and running up massive debts that could damage your credit history.
If you do receive a phishing email, HMRC urge you to forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it from your inbox.
The Pensions Regulator has been given its budget for 2013-14 and almost half of the budget will be spent on regulating auto enrolment. Reported by Money Marketing their total budget for 2013-14 will be £66.6m of which £28.9 million will be allocated to auto-enrolment.
Alongside using the money to regulate and enforce the legislation, they are also committed to making it simple to comply.
Commenting on the planned spend, TPR chief executive Bill Galvin and chairman Michael O’Higgins say: “We aim to make it as easy as possible to comply with the new duties, by helping with software development, awareness campaigns and education programmes.
“In parallel, we will make clear that non-compliance is not an option, and our investment in building intelligence and enforcement capabilities will increase substantially this year, ahead of the staging dates for medium and small employers commencing in 2014/2015.”
The legislation is the governments attempt to address the increasing proportion of the UK that are financially unprepared for retirement. The auto enrolment will see the employee, employer and government (via tax relief) pay a percentage into the pension.
Managing auto-enrolment in house can be a burden to agencies, with added costs and extra administration. By choosing to refer contractors to our compliant ICS Umbrella Service, we can take this extra stress away at no extra cost.
For some, it can be a big leap to move from a permanent job into a contract role and adapt to the contractor lifestyle. This may explain why increasingly, those with permanent jobs are ‘testing the water’ by doing contract work in addition to their permanent role.
Assumed that the permanent role does not stipulate that you can’t do additional work, many of those who ‘trial’ contract work go on to favouring the contractor lifestyle, leaving their permanent job behind.
Research conducted by work site oDesk and agency Millennial Branding revealed that seven out of ten contractors who still have a permanent role would like to leave and be entirely independent. They surveyed 3,193 contractors worldwide and the result indicates that once a permanent employee tries contracting, they are inclined to take the leap and become a contractor.
Reported by Freelance UK, those surveyed said that the biggest ‘pull’ factors were the flexibility to work where and whenever they liked doing something they were passionate about and having the option to contract whilst abroad giving them the chance to travel the globe.
Did you ‘test the water’ and contract alongside a 9-5 job before you became a contractor? Are you still doing both but wish to contract permanently? Join in.
Supporting Contractors, Think ICS.
A report recently revealed that there is an increasing trend of young corporate employees considering a moving into contract roles due to the flexible nature but they need to prepare long term. The pension auto enrolment scheme is likely to help them prepare for their retirement providing they are paid via an Umbrella Company.
The government, employer (umbrella company) and employee (contractor) will all pay a percentage into a pension in an attempt to help the UK workforce prepare for retirement. It could be that you want to arrange your own pension as well and there are various options available to a contractor using specialist providers.
There are also those that have retired from their permanent role and have moved into contracting to fund their retirement and also give them the work life balance they require. For many people of retirement age, they don’t want to just stop, they want to slow down and be responsible for the amount of work they want to do. Contracting gives them this option whilst also funding their ‘retirement’.
The contracting lifestyle suits many age brackets but they should always look long term and prepare for when the day comes that they do actually want or have to stop.
Are you a young person looking for more flexibility by contracting? Or of retirement age choosing to continue contracting? Tell us why you chose to be a contractor!
ICS have partnered with Now Pensions to auto enrol all our clients into a pension scheme on our given staging date of 2014. This will be of no extra cost to you or your agency.
The latest REC and KPMG Report on Jobs for April 2013 has been released and although it shows a decline in contract and temporary placements in the South, the same isn’t to be said for the North which has in fact seen a rise in contract and temporary placements.
Over 70% of temporary and contract staff sectors that the report monitors saw improved demand. The fastest increase being roles in Nursing, Medical and Care followed by Engineering personnel.
The report which is pulled together by data from recruitment agencies was released last week. It shows an upturn in candidates placed in permanent roles, predominantly in the Midlands and South of England for the month of April, perhaps hinting that business confidence is rising.
Sectors that saw an upturn in permanent roles were notably IT and Engineering which is positive news for any contractors wishing to return to a permanent role.
Commenting on the April figures, Bernard Brown from KPMG said:
“The data suggests that optimism is lower when temporary roles are considered and there are also still too many inconsistencies across the UK to hint at recovery. The reality is that there are likely to be storm clouds ahead before the employment rainbow will really be allowed to shine.”
Yes, you did read the headline correct, we’ve reduced the price of our CIS Service to just £15 per week.
The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) was introduced by the Government to set rules about how payments are made for construction work.
In 2008, ICS introduced our CIS Service to help contractors that wish to provide services to the construction sector, or that are already working within CIS. If your job involves building, fixing or assembling, it is likely you will meet the right criteria to be using the CIS. How do I register for CIS?
By working through our CIS Service contractors can benefit from tax rates of 20%. Simply provide ICS with your UTR number (What is a UTR number?), submit your hours worked to us weekly and then let us take care of the rest. All relevant tax deductions made under the CIS scheme are paid over to HMRC by ICS.
Simple and straightforward. Think ICS.
A phrase many people will know, it seems that if you want to be successful the answer is to survive off little sleep and be in work-mode from at least 5am; this according to a number of Chief Executives of some very successful companies.
An article by The Guardian explores the daily lives of a number of Chief Executives where most begin their working day at 5am, switching off late into the evening and having only few hours of sleep a night. These well paid executives working lives also mirror some lower paid workers with two jobs that survive of little sleep working just to cover the bills.
Working as a contractor, at what time of day are you most productive? Is the flexibility of managing your own working hours what attracted you to the contracting lifestyle?
Previously working in a permanent role, it might be these long hours that you wanted to abandon, choosing a successful contracting lifestyle working hours that suit you. It may be that you still work early in the morning and late into the night but with flexibility to do other things during the day.
Whatever your reasons for choosing to contract, it seems that the recommended eight hours sleep a day is diminishing in favour of less sleep to improve chances of success – do you agree? Can we still be as productive with fewer hours in bed?
Letting you focus on your contract. Think ICS.
RTI came into force just last month and already HMRC are struggling to cope with the sheer volume of annual RTI registrations that are flooding their systems.
For small businesses including contractors with their own limited company, if they only pay themselves and/or their employees on an annual basis, they can register for the annual scheme, however, HMRC appear to have been unprepared for the amount of registrations that have been received for this option.
In a bulletin on their website this week, HMRC said that they are currently unable to process any further requests and are not able to specify a date when they will be able to start receiving requests again.
Reported by Contractor Accountants, the advice from HMRC is to follow their bulletin board and wait for a “What’s new” announcement before seeking to register for annual RTI. In the meantime, continue to submit NIL EPS forms until any registration has been officially accepted.
By choosing to use our Limited Company Service, as part of the service we would take care of all your RTI obligations so you can focus on your work.
Stay stress free, Think ICS.
It has been widely reported that the UK is massively short of skilled cyber security experts to protect them from attacks. The shortage is so severe that one security expert believes that those with cyber security skills will be able to command a substantial rate.
Eugene Kaspersky, founder of spyware firm Kaspersky Lab recently met with James Brokenshire, the minister for security at the Home Office to discuss the increasing cyber attacks alongside the shortage of skilled experts to fend off these attacks. He believes that the only way to address this shortage is to skill up young people, insisting the government has to do more.
The government have begun to realise that this skill shortage is a big problem and in a bid to encourage young people into cyber security, they are to back plans for an IT Security Contest in schools. In partnership with Cyber Security Challenge UK, the contest hopes to attract young people that may not currently be technically minded.
Reported separately, young people in other parts of the world are using their skills to launch hacking attacks. Most recently, the Syrian Electronic Army have used their skills to launch hacking and phishing attacks on Western Media websites. A member of the SEA told the website vice.com: “We’re all Syrian youths who each have our specialised computer skills, such as hacking and graphic design.”
Attacks like the ones from the SEA are only likely to increase and the UK has to be prepared for these attacks and have the skills in place to react to them and in an ideal scenario, stop them from happening. They need to encourage young people in the UK to protect from these attacks and not be the ones launching the attacks.
The Recruiter Awards take place this coming Wednesday (1st May) to celebrate those that excel within the industry.
From our experience, contractors find their first role and often subsequent roles via recruitment agencies and many will have had positive and negative experiences with them. These awards celebrate those agencies that ‘do it right’.
An award every agency would like to win, the Recruiter Awards are held every year and this year ICS are proud to sponsor the ‘Best Large Recruiter of the Year’ award.
As a supplier to the recruitment industry, we are committed to providing a transparent and compliant service to agencies and their candidates. Established in 2002, ICS are one of the UK’s leading contractor payroll providers. We are in a unique position of providing a complete range of highly compliant solutions, through our Umbrella Company, Limited Company, Sole Trader and CIS services.
Good Luck to all those nominated and we’ll see you there on the night!
P.S. If you’re at the event, be sure to look for ICS in the ceremony brochure, we just may be running a little competition…Think ICS.