Osborne 'must recognise freelancers' vital role'

George Osborne should use today’s Budget to address three key issues affecting freelancers – workers who the government has failed to adequately recognise in terms of the economic benefits they provide.

Sounding this call yesterday, the PCG said the chancellor offering freelancers clarity, honesty and vision would help reverse his “inaction” around them to date, which such contract workers regard as a “dereliction of [his] duty.”

Radical new thinking from Mr Osborne on freelancers’ taxation is why the contractor trade group wants clarity, because it believes the distinction between freelancers and employees is often obscured and causes "petty" tax disputes.

Secondly, vision is needed as the Treasury review into ‘off-payroll’ appointees was a “shambles” that led to freelancers struggling to understand the resulting guidance, which departments are not implementing consistently.

PCG added that it also wants honesty, by HM Revenue & Customs making it “abundantly clear” who will and won’t be affected by IR35 being extended to office-holders, as announced shortly after December's Autumn Statement.

To this end, the group hopes Mr Osborne will today “insist” that HMRC publishes new guidance on IR35 – a wish that comes in the same week that the Revenue told FreelanceUK that fresh guidance on the legislation would indeed be unveiled soon.

“Clear tax rules and simple, straightforward tax guidance would demonstrate the government recognises the vital role freelancers play in the economy,” said Chris Bryce, PCG’s chairman. “Freelancers will help drive the economy; we need the chancellor to set us free to do that.”

 

19th March 2013

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