We’ve designed our contractor guides to help you optimise your contracting business. Whether you’re brand new to contracting or experienced, there’s always something new to learn.
At every budget, it seems that taxation laws and HMRC guidelines change. With global stock exchanges on high alert, interest rates can change overnight, too.
If providing your product or service and getting paid for it was all there was to it, you’d be an employee. And we all know the consequences of IR35 deciding that’s what you are.
There are many ways that being an independent professional can help (not hinder) you. But where can you go in confidence to unearth these gems of knowledge?
Limited company contracting is anything but black and white
The problem: the information you’re looking for won’t come from a HR department. The agency through whom you work are unlikely to help, either. Quite often, they can’t from a legal standpoint, even if they wanted to.
Nor will you find optimal ways to run your business on the HMRC website. Not if you want to streamline your business for tax-planning, at any rate.
Moreover, clients won’t work out your tax and NICs in their payments for you. They won’t tell you what are and aren’t allowable expenses, either.
Even if they did, what they can claim as an employee differs to what you can as a contractor. They could land you in hot water with IR35 teams, even if they had your best interests at heart.
Your business; your responsibility: the buck stops here!
No; those responsibilities, and many others, fall slap-bang in your court.
Some contractors understand how all the pieces mesh together as if they were born knowing it. But for the majority, their newfound self-employed status represents a huge learning curve.
We’re here to help reduce its angle and give you a smooth transition into the world of contracting.
Buckle up; it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. But you’ll be better off by taking a few bruises now than a knockout punch from the taxman later.
What’s covered in our contractor guides?
Our library is a handy resource providing you with free-to-download up-to-date guides. Its aim is to provide the information you want when you want it.
It would be impossible to get your head around everything in one go. So we’ve broken down each document into a manageable article. For some topics, we have multiple guides as trying to fit it all in one would be soul-sapping.
Each guide should help you move on to the next step of your lifestyle or business with confidence.
We know that you want to optimise your income, both at the drawing and spending stages. But we also know that you want to remain compliant and legitimate at all times, too.
Contracting: the constant learning curve
What we can’t provide here is a library of guides on how you actually carry out your service. But you should have some idea of what that entails — how you do your job — before trying out contracting.
Beyond providing a service, it’s imperative you keep on top of the business aspect, too. That’s true whether you work direct or through an Umbrella Company or Agency
Here’s an overview of each of the topics we cover, with a link to more detail about it in the title line. If an element isn’t part of our genetic make-up, we have solid bonds with partners to bring you:
Mortgages for contractors don’t work the same as those for employees with permanent contracts. It’s not the mortgages themselves; it’s how lenders underwrite them that’s special.
We deal direct with those underwriters. They don’t want to see the payslips and accounts that most High Street lenders will ask you for.
The only figure that matters to them is your contract rate. Using that, we can offer competitive, speedy mortgages that reflect your true earning potential.
Securing your business and livelihood against illness and accidents is imperative. As an employee, you no doubt took that cover for granted.
As a self-employed entity, there’s no such thing as built-in paid sick leave. Government critical or long-term sickness cover won’t live up to your contractor lifestyle, either!
Our flexible income protection replaces that safety net, whatever your new trading structure.
As much as you love what you do, there’ll come a day when you send your last timesheet. And if you don’t think ahead, your drop in income to a state pension will be huge!
At retirement age, you could do without shocks like that! But there is good news…
…contractors can make pension contributions that will ensure their quality of life post-retirement. But also, those contributions can offer beneficial tax breaks in the here and now.
Death-in-service benefit is another insurance you’ll have taken for granted as an employee. Where you work through an agency or direct, you’ll have no such cover as a contractor.
Up until now, the market has offered little in the way of this type of cover for an independent professional. But Relevant Life is a new type of cover designed with small limited companies in mind.
Their life policy is both affordable and relevant. But it’s also a tax efficient way to ensure your family will benefit should the worst happen.
IR35 is not going away any time soon. In fact, HMRC seems even more determined to seek out and punish disguised employees.
For many contractors, their budget and mortgage rely much on them being super tax-efficient. A negative review by the taxman could have devastating consequences to their lifestyle.
You must ensure that both you and your accountant are 100% versed in all aspects of IR35 compliance.
Contracting can open many doors and opportunities for investment. Given the comparatively high earnings potential of contracting, that’s no surprise.
The means of investing are many, both before and after tax. The key to successful investment is knowing which to use and when.
You may want to start with a simple ISA into which to stash your cash and dividends. Further down the road, you may want to aim higher with a Help-to-Buy mortgage.
Whichever you choose, make sure you optimise the process. There are many simple and elaborate savings mechanism options available.
Many of the above benefits rely on drawing salary and dividends via a limited company. For contractors earning more than £35k/per annum, that’s the most tax-efficient payment structure.
There are companies who’ll do this for you. They do it every day, know the process inside out and charge a reasonable fee.
Many newer contractors balk at making this step. But compared to managing your limited company, incorporation is somewhat straightforward.
Freelancer Financials: your all-in-one contractor resource
Although you’re self-employed, you won’t be able to do everything on your own. Not if you want to live the lifestyle that contracting can offer.
You’ll realise the importance of selecting the right partners to support your business. Your business is unique to you; there’s no one-size-fits-all model.
Our strong, reliable partnerships present a unique opportunity for you. Leveraging our combined experience will give you a head start. You needn’t waste precious time searching for these services when they’re all available here.
That’s not just us boasting. Feedback from our own clients has helped shape the services we offer.
We know that hunting down unfamiliar services, no matter how beneficial, encroaches upon productivity. We know that identifying the right partners is key, but time consuming, too.
So we’ve done the donkey work; the fruits of our labour live in our contractor guides. They’re free for you to download for your Kindle or as a plain old pdf for you to read at your leisure.
Working with us, you’ll build an unshakeable foundation for your limited company. By focusing on clients instead of menial tasks, your business will begin to flourish.
Get our contractor guides hot off the press
To ensure you don’t miss an update, drop your email address into the form to confirm your interest. We’ll deliver each guide to you with our newsletter as soon as it rolls off the press.
Our established partners are all listed here on-site, too. Each listing comes with a description of the “other service” we provide through them.
Not sure if one of our services are right for you? Our staff will help you fill in any blanks after getting to know a little about you. If you’re still uncertain, we would encourage you to double check any aspect with an IFA.
In the meantime, do feel free to check out how our partners can add value to your business. For more specific enquiries about our contractor guides, feel free to fire them at us. Either contact us by email or on social. We’ll be happy to help.
Author: John Yerou
John Yerou is the owner and founder of Freelancer Financials; a trading style & trade mark of the award winning Mortgage Quest Ltd. One of the most recognised names in providing mortgages for contractors and freelancers across the UK.
In 2004 John began his career in Financial Services as an independent mortgage adviser and broker. John has been instrumental in negotiating bespoke underwriting for contractors with high street lenders.
His presence in the industry as a go-to expert is growing by the day and he is regularly cited and writes in publications both locally and nationally.