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To the self employed - are you worried?

jfinnie

Distinguished Member
I run a very small specialist electronics engineering company (most of the time, just me) and I have a small office and lab in a shared office building opposite my home that I pay rent for and am in receipt of small business rates relief for.

I'm VAT registered and have a reasonably sized VAT bill due in the next couple of months which if I'm working less will get chipped away at by the deferment, which is helpful as I expect some customers may be slower paying over the period. Many who only experience VAT as consumers don't realise that VAT system at the moment can be a cashflow nightmare with slow paying clients; you can quite easily be giving HMRC money that you haven't collected yet as it is based on invoices and not receipts in a period. This deferment is welcome and is a practical benefit.

I'm still doing work and invoicing, but much of this work currently planned will end up being held up by external factors I'm sure, so work will likely slow a little at some point - or heaven forbid I may succumb to illness myself. However I'd like to hope not, that social distancing can work, and will still be working in some capacity so I'm not counting to be able to claim any benefits.

The £10K small business rate relief related grant (Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses) looks like it will be very helpful if applicable and put some cash into the business at a time when the double whammy of work and payments slowing hits. As far as I can see this is effectively free money (though the full guidance and detail hasn't been published).

I do feel for folk who don't have premises they are getting small business rates relief on as that particular grant looks like a big boost for those who can receive it. Things do look a little bleak there at the moment; but I don't think anyone in Govt doesn't realise this is a big issue for the current structure of the economy so it wouldn't surprise me if something did happen. Quite what I don't know... could we be about to see a Tory govt preside over the introduction of a Universal Income?! That would be a turn-up for the books!
Well they are deferring payment until the end of the year in VAT. But hey I'm not going to spend VAT money I know I have to give the government sooner or later! I will still need it.
As above, if things pan out the way it looks though the deferment is probably good for cashflow as your unavoidable costs will keep chipping away at the amount of VAT you'll eventually have to pay.
You sound like me, it's pointless taking a loan out that you are going to struggle to pay back.

The only use I can think of it at the moment is take the 10K and use it on the mortgage to reduce your payments. But then when the time is up take the 10k back out your mortgage and pay it off.
Trouble is with that, OK it's helps a little financially while we are struggling but will the mortgage company then let you take the 10k back out when the time comes. Bit too risky for my liking.
Are you referrring to the £10K grant for businesses in receipt of small business rate relief? Or a different £10K? I didn't think the grant was repayable (hence grant, not interest free loan). I know there are offers of cheap finance too, which may be interest free for up to a year - and they of course are loans. I guess they may be useful for some situations, including bootstrapping a new business idea at a low cost if you have one in the post-apocalypse new world order :)
 

69COU

Active Member
Be Thankful. Having talked to many people obviously everyone who is a sole trader, in a partnership or a contractor ( own ltd company) is very concerned and awaiting what the next steps may be of support from government. The one with most uncertainty will be trades/ service that is done face to face where they may need to adapt their service. Some things will be very difficult and I have been trying to come up with some ideas locally to support those and drum up support. If we like it or not also within the economy we so have some who will really suffer bad. Think bar staff, waiters, waitress who probably may get something like min wage PAYE. However they are just about managing as rely on tips to really survive.
Then cross to the likes of taxi driver/cab driver again Tips make a massive ability for them to survive. Perhaps they will adapt to deliveries etc.

For a lighthearted thought, be glad you are not an exotic dancer. Even Boris will struggle to stretch to supporting them.

Being serious we should not have a shadow economy but it does exist, and we perhaps would be too quick to blame those working in it, not those that take advantage of these people or society creating such vacuums. Let’s see if after we get through Coronavirus and we will if we will become a better society.

As this is an AV forum thought I would give us a link to tune at this time.

Be Thankful for what you got.

Be safe and look out for the senior citizens the next three months for them is going to be hard.

While you listen to a tune the following was posted by a fellow freelancer. Below, I am totally in tune with this as one myself who’s wife had an employed job up until February when was given 15 minutes notice after 8 years they closed the store where she was manager. Having one bit of smoothed earnings allowed me to develop my business following me losing job back in financial crisis after 7 years at the company.


My heart is aching for my fellow freelancers/ self employed ❤

They don’t have a premises - no £10k grant.

They don’t employ staff - no 80% of their wage covered to retain them.
They aren’t employed - no 80% of their wage covered.
They can apply for universal credit and get a maximum of 300 odd quid, but if you live with a partner who’s lucky enough to have a wage then you’ll get nothing.
They haven’t been given definitive direction to close, but all of their clients are cancelling and their industries are mounting pressure and shame on them to close - the same people who are getting grants and their staff are getting 80% of their wages paid.
They know they have to do social distancing. But they are a few days away from zero income.
And these people have built their businesses from zero with unimaginable amounts of blood, sweat and tears.
Please be compassionate and empathetic to your freelancer friends, their world is crumbling around them and they are haven’t been thrown the same lifeline as you. They are being forced to make horrendously difficult decisions and don’t need any more shame from anyone else.
All SELF EMPLOYED PEOPLE PLEASE COPY AND PASTE TO YOUR TIME LINE AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER.
 
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jfinnie

Distinguished Member
I'd still like to hope that Govt are trying to figure out ways to be able to deliver support to as many as possible still and these initial offerings were just what was possible to work out in the short term.
For those small VAT registered businesses (most freelancers probably should be as there are no real downsides for B2B freelancing) it could be possible, for example, for them to look at recent VAT returns and work out the difference in eventual takings through the crisis vs normal times. Some level of funds could be provided and in the event that the freelancer was able to work then it would come out in the next return and be able to be adjusted.

I understand job centres do already look at invoices / takings etc for folk when assessing if they are gainfully self employed in a viable business or should be considered available for work, that could be extended somehow to figure out shortfalls for folk who aren't VAT registered but do have viable businesses that have been taken away from them. Giggers will probably have been being paid electronically and so again should be able to show shortfall.

While I have sympathy at a human level for folk who might be working in a shadow economy type situation and have that earning source withdrawn, it is a little difficult to have too much sympathy as there typically isn't much reason why they couldn't regularize that income if they really wanted to - plenty of cash businesses do pay their taxes - and so expecting the state to step in in a big way is difficult - how do you even try and figure that out? "I'd usually have £300 tucked into these pants by the end of the evening but at the moment I'm only getting half a curly wurly and a packet of crisps" is something every chancer on the planet could take advantage of.
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
Last night I made a new CV and started looking for web development jobs, it was so utterly depressing - felt like I was giving up on the life I'd built as a self-employed photographer.

I'll be doing photography when this is over, I have clients, but who knows when that will be.
 

stiv674

Well-known Member
I'd still like to hope that Govt are trying to figure out ways to be able to deliver support to as many as possible still and these initial offerings were just what was possible to work out in the short term.
For those small VAT registered businesses (most freelancers probably should be as there are no real downsides for B2B freelancing) it could be possible, for example, for them to look at recent VAT returns and work out the difference in eventual takings through the crisis vs normal times. Some level of funds could be provided and in the event that the freelancer was able to work then it would come out in the next return and be able to be adjusted.

I understand job centres do already look at invoices / takings etc for folk when assessing if they are gainfully self employed in a viable business or should be considered available for work, that could be extended somehow to figure out shortfalls for folk who aren't VAT registered but do have viable businesses that have been taken away from them. Giggers will probably have been being paid electronically and so again should be able to show shortfall.

While I have sympathy at a human level for folk who might be working in a shadow economy type situation and have that earning source withdrawn, it is a little difficult to have too much sympathy as there typically isn't much reason why they couldn't regularize that income if they really wanted to - plenty of cash businesses do pay their taxes - and so expecting the state to step in in a big way is difficult - how do you even try and figure that out? "I'd usually have £300 tucked into these pants by the end of the evening but at the moment I'm only getting half a curly wurly and a packet of crisps" is something every chancer on the planet could take advantage of.
I'm not sure what you're trying to get across, that every self employed person gets paid in cash?
 

jfinnie

Distinguished Member
I'm not sure what you're trying to get across, that every self employed person gets paid in cash?
No, certainly not. I'm self employed and I get paid by bank transfers. Those who do get paid in cash (increasingly unpopular these days) can easily pay tax on that income if they choose to. Cash doesn't equal not tax paid.

There was a specific point being made by the previous poster about folk in the shadow economy who by definition are almost always both paid in cash and not paying tax (it wouldn't be a shadow economy if they were...). That was the point specifically I was answering in the latter part of the post. The previous poster gave the example of exotic dancers, and even there I'm sure there are some / many exotic dancers not operating in the shadow economy...
 

stiv674

Well-known Member
No, certainly not. I'm self employed and I get paid by bank transfers. Those who do get paid in cash (increasingly unpopular these days) can easily pay tax on that income if they choose to. Cash doesn't equal not tax paid.

There was a specific point being made by the previous poster about folk in the shadow economy who by definition are almost always both paid in cash and not paying tax (it wouldn't be a shadow economy if they were...). That was the point specifically I was answering in the latter part of the post. The previous poster gave the example of exotic dancers, and even there I'm sure there are some / many exotic dancers not operating in the shadow economy...
Oh I see, sorry for misunderstanding. Yeah I guess that is an issue, and why they're taking their time to come up with something suitable...
 

Apollo

Active Member
I can see the difficulties in working out something equitable for the self employed, given the ebb and flow of turnover, expenses and intermittent larger capital investments.

What I don't get, is why the shadow economy and cash payments often get brought into discussions like this and thrown in the faces of the hard working self employed. I've seen it elsewhere online and really can't understand the mentality of it!

Quite simply, those who aren't running a business showing a history of making enough profit to live on by self assessment returns (plus VAT for some ) should expect to be getting the absolute minimum. I don't see why those who are loosing their income through no fault of their own should be treated any differently than PAYE workers getting their 80% wages :(
 

stiv674

Well-known Member
I've been self employed for about nine years so they have a good record of my earnings over that period, it can't be that difficult to work out an average...
 

Apollo

Active Member
I've been self employed for about nine years so they have a good record of my earnings over that period, it can't be that difficult to work out an average...
Same here, trading with a reasonable income and VAT registered continuously since 1997....crikey, has it been that long :)
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
I'm in my second year, business has expanded and income increased probably at least two fold on the first year.
 

jfinnie

Distinguished Member
I think we're probably mostly agreeing over the shadow economy distraction.

@Dancook Kudos to you for getting on with it, must be galling to feel like you're going back from a dream job. Hope it will just be a blip and a means to an end. I'm sure with the will that your business position could be worked out by eg DWP; I'm hoping the Govt. don't think they've gone far enough with this. Fingers crossed for you.
 

Apollo

Active Member

Apollo

Active Member
Basically a LibDem amendment it seems. I wonder if it will get any traction.
Even if it doesn’t get any traction, it lays down a marker and keeps us on the radar :thumbsup:
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
Let's hope this goes through - it's probably the fairest way to do it and for those without three years it should flag as an anomaly that requires extra looking at, although who's going to have the time. My biggest worry is the impression that those who are self employed don't pay taxes, cheat the system and are basically freeloaders. Well if this payment plan happens then all those who've not paid their taxes I'm presuming have put the extra cash in the bank so can live off their savings. You put into the system then the system hopefully can support you. You don't put into the system then don't complain. A friend of mine has a 'creative' accountant so he's declared very little - he'll be in trouble!
 

Rockets

Active Member
Let's hope this goes through - it's probably the fairest way to do it and for those without three years it should flag as an anomaly that requires extra looking at, although who's going to have the time. My biggest worry is the impression that those who are self employed don't pay taxes, cheat the system and are basically freeloaders. Well if this payment plan happens then all those who've not paid their taxes I'm presuming have put the extra cash in the bank so can live off their savings. You put into the system then the system hopefully can support you. You don't put into the system then don't complain. A friend of mine has a 'creative' accountant so he's declared very little - he'll be in trouble!

I'm in a odd situation, I just took out extra funding on my mortgage before this struct to have an extension.

So it looks like I have loads of savings - but I don't it's extra mortgage money to build a extension.

Hopefully if this does come in there isn't any weird exceptions for savings. If there is I hope there is someway of proving it's not savings but a loan. This isn't my money it's the banks loan.
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
I'm in a odd situation, I just took out extra funding on my mortgage before this struct to have an extension.

So it looks like I have loads of savings - but I don't it's extra mortgage money to build a extension.

Hopefully if this does come in there isn't any weird exceptions for savings. If there is I hope there is someway of proving it's not savings but a loan. This isn't my money it's the banks loan.
and that seems to be the problem - 80% to those on PAYE without any means testing and not quite so easy for anyone else.
 

Apollo

Active Member

69COU

Active Member
Just to add in the comment on the shadow economy was not about taxes, it was more about those who may be worse off or forgotten as much of their income is by way of Tips or similar. It was a point of saying they may be others worse off for a number of reasons we don’t appreciate.

Thus it showed we can all get judgemental very easily and think our own position is more deserving. Today as a freelancer who needed to drive to my empty office to shut things down etc., I passed a homeless man on the street, yes I gave him a couple of quid change, when other times I may have judged he could get a job.

I am not convinced anyone has accused all self employed of not paying their taxes, many were forced into this position by loosing jobs after the financial crisis thus the real expansion of the Gig/Freelance/very small trades that are more widespread. My change to freelance work goes back to a redundancy in 2010.

My wife was unfortunately made redundant as the firm she worked for when into administration in February just gone, with 15 minutes notice, in just a matter of 2 months as a family things can be turned upside down. Her job was manager of a ladies fashion store and she has 20 years as a specialist in this area. Zero chance of interviews in her chosen work in the current environment. My Son who is 18 six months into an apprenticeship on minimum apprenticeship earning with potentially this at risk.

If I put my old judgemental hat it would have be easy to say she should have rushed for a temp job in stacking shelves Tesco or similar as people were starting to get into panic buying? However who would have looked after my younger daughter who is sent home from school.

Thus although my wife is unemployed, as my son is technically employed no discount on even council tax. She will not get the 80% saftey net. It will take another month of spending her minimal statutory redundancy and any savings we have before fall off in my work starts to kick in. Lucky I have the last few bills for work done still due assuming my invoices are not bumped to back of queue.

Thus the point on treatment of one type of worker vs another whilst things seems obvious this can lead to you to asks another valid question “ Is all the UK or for that think globally in it together?” Or do we pick and choose, so all share the pain or downside to freedoms etc. However the upside is only for benefit of those that are lucky in where they are positioned at a certain time?

Sounds very socialist or idealist which is not the intention of the question. It is about in a national emergency / international emergency do we value one persons life/lifestyle more important than another without taking time to reflect. Take that to an extreme then is someone more fortunate able to claim they payed more tax more entitled to treatment first or should their elderly relative be able to get priority over someone else’s who payed less?

Empathy for others and a pause can I suppose lead to gratefulness for whatever we have.

6E2E7B8C-8C8B-41A9-B552-A0ECF6BC3BD8.jpeg
 
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MartinH32

Well-known Member
Just to add in the comment on the shadow economy was not about taxes, it was more about those who may be worse off or forgotten as much of their income is by way of Tips or similar. It was a point of saying they may be others worse off for a number of reasons we don’t appreciate.

Thus it showed we can all get judgemental very easily and think our own position is more deserving. Today as a freelancer who needed to drive to my empty office to shut things down etc., I passed a homeless man on the street, yes I gave him a couple of quid change, when other times I may have judged he could get a job.

I am not convinced anyone has accused all self employed of not paying their taxes, many were forced into this position by loosing jobs after the financial crisis thus the real expansion of the Gig/Freelance/very small trades that are more widespread. My change to freelance work goes back to a redundancy in 2010.

My wife was unfortunately made redundant as the firm she worked for when into administration in February just gone, with 15 minutes notice, in just a matter of 2 months as a family things can be turned upside down. Her job was manager of a ladies fashion store and she has 20 years as a specialist in this area. Zero chance of interviews in her chosen work in the current environment. My Son who is 18 six months into an apprenticeship on minimum apprenticeship earning with potentially this at risk.

If I put my old judgemental hat it would have be easy to say she should have rushed for a temp job in stacking shelves Tesco or similar as people were starting to get into panic buying? However who would have looked after my younger daughter who is sent home from school.

Thus although my wife is unemployed, as my son is technically employed no discount on even council tax. She will not get the 80% saftey net. It will take another month of spending her minimal statutory redundancy and any savings we have before fall off in my work starts to kick in. Lucky I have the last few bills for work done still due assuming my invoices are not bumped to back of queue.

Thus the point on treatment of one type of worker vs another whilst things seems obvious this can lead to you to asks another valid question “ Is all the UK or for that think globally in it together?” Or do we pick and choose, so all share the pain or downside to freedoms etc. However the upside is only for benefit of those that are lucky in where they are positioned at a certain time?

Sounds very socialist or idealist which is not the intention of the question. It is about in a national emergency / international emergency do we value one persons life/lifestyle more important than another without taking time to reflect. Take that to an extreme then is someone more fortunate able to claim they payed more tax more entitled to treatment first or should their elderly relative be able to get priority over someone else’s who payed less?

Empathy for others and a pause can I suppose lead to gratefulness for whatever we have.

View attachment 1273184
There should be no differentiation at all, sadly though emotions run high at the moment. I've no work now for two months - all that work has been rescheduled to next year reducing what I can make and in effect I'm loosing several thousands of pounds due to this. The problem is no one understands anyone elses situation and to be honest there were several connotations that I'd not thought about. The problem is clarity for those worried about not being able to pay the bills in the short term. There is non coming from the government at the moment although I all other respects I totally commend how things have been handled
 

jfinnie

Distinguished Member
Quoting from Martin Lewis' newsletter:

a) I have it officially CONFIRMED the Govt is working on a further support package (some reports say it'll be as soon as Wed, but it'll almost certainly be by Fri). I don't know what it is, but suspect it'll be on a par with the 80% of your salary up to £2,500 for employees. So hold tight, and don't make any drastic decisions until that's announced.

For more, and for updates when we get news, see our self-employed coronavirus help including my video briefing.
 

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