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Confused about employee or "freelance" status?

Simon Lewis

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I doubt anyone will find the rules simple or easy to follow. In a prior line of work I was a diver doing swimming pool repairs, all easy and easily invoiced and accounted EXCEPT for Debyshire county council schools who demanded to pay me as a building trades supplier less 25% already paid by them to HMRC which I could not recover. All easily sorted by doubling any quote for them!
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd argue with the word loophole and replace it with people and organisations 'trying their luck' to save 'ees 'ers and other on costs including employee benefits. The folk who moan about, or maybe I should say are affected most by, tighter definitions of self-employment are those who aren't really self-employed at all according to even the simplest definition of that status. They often really conform to that old hackneyed and now legally pretty meaningless term ' casual labour'. The real villain though, and here I think I do agree with Clive, is the varying approaches to such things over the years by HMRC. What was once a quite relaxed attitude seems to have been replaced by a much firmer regime.


I'd say Business and Organisations, people (I'm assuming meaning those doing the work and claiming to be self-employed), in general (there is the obvious exception with high net worth individuals taking the pi$$) are more just trying to work within the system, where the system wont give a straight answer and is awfully complicated. It's the Business that seem to be trying there luck and using loopholes, trying to have a dynamic workforce and avoid the over head of employment benafit and rights. imo


Surly the BBC, given it's legacy, should have been above all that though...



As someone who about 70 - 80 % of my work is as a 'AV freelancer' I feel like I'm treated as an employee by most clients, told when to turn up/go, use there tools (yes I have hand tools, but I don't supply any proper items like sound/lighting desks, PA ect.. 99% of the time), asked to ware there branded tops and any of them that send out T&C's read very much like I'm an employee.


That said I see myself as a separate business providing a service, I'd just like some of my clients to treat me as such (and the tax system to be simple and sensible...) and not just cherry pick the bits that benafit themselves.



For the foreseeable future I'll also still be confused...




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I suspect that as the HMRC are going through the various industries bit by bit (and have made my camerawork for the BBC a virtual impossibility now as I cannot meet the requirements) eventually they will go after live events and theatre. Realistically, we're all told what time to start and finish. We often get branded clothing to wear, which sounds suspiciously like a uniform to outsiders. Our normal practice of being told to do things by the people running the shows would be very difficult to argue as us working independently even though we think it is. Somebody is calling the show - as in to an outsider, managing or supervising. We get breaks at set time, if we miss a break we might get an extra payment. How would we argue we are independent. We cannot substitute without it being sanctioned because the replacement would be hard pushed to function. All this stuff screams to HMRC that we are employees.


I have no idea if it helps, but I have never done an invoice for years that does not have a list of supplied equipment itemised on it - even if these things are at £0.00. My clients NEVER get just me, they get things too, and I hope this history will help in the future.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found this issue out for my previous job.


I was working freelance but treated like an employee. Given keys to the building, working on a rota system etc. When the company didn't pay me then I went to the CAB for advice and they said to go to ACAS but because I was freelance, they could not help. In the end its being dragged through the small claims.


I have worked freelance before and not had any problems but this time round has shown me that people who are contracting you can be right (Insert swear word here). Knowing the company's financial situation then I was understanding but when I found out that the theatre owner was making sure he got a full wage so he could go for a mortgage and even the other staff on the payroll were getting a fraction when it came to payday caused me to seek advice and that is where I learnt about freelance and ACAS unable to help.

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