BBC in talks with HMRC to reach IR35 deal

BBC in talks with HMRC to reach IR35 deal

Reports have emerged in recent days suggesting that the BBC is attempting to negotiate a deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over the historic tax liabilities of a number of it’s presenters, many of whom have incurred such liabilities under IR35 following the recent reforms.

The idea is that the broadcaster will effectively deal with it’s presenters’ retrospective IR35 demands “in one go with HMRC,” reports suggest.

The news comes at a time when there is a big question mark surrounding the issue of whether or not the BBC will accept liability or responsibility for the fact that many of it’s presenters used personal service companies (PSCs).

In recent weeks, leaked emails and other reports have emerged indicating that the BBC effectively ‘forced’ many of it’s presenters to take this approach, despite many being reluctant to do so. However, the BBC itself has provided little comment on the issue.

Damian Collins MP recently questioned the BBC’s Director General, Lord Hall.

“Freelancers… who were told they had to set up a personal service company… were reluctant to do that,” Mr Collins said.

“Now if the consequences of those decisions… taken against the wishes of the freelancer or the employee [are] that they have a tax liability… will [the BBC] accept some responsibility for that?” he asked, to which Lord Hall simply replied that the organisation was “pursuing discussions” with HMRC.

“I’m concerned about this from the point of view of the people who are working for us and I want to make sure we can get this resolved. So I’m really hopeful HMRC and ourselves can come to some settlement,” Lord Hall said, indicating that the broadcaster was hoping a single deal could be agreed.

He added that the BBC was being “proactive” in attempting to resolve the issue in an effort to reach a prompt agreement.

Meanwhile, another BBC spokesperson criticised the recent changes to IR35 themselves, arguing that changes to tax legislation had resulted in “additional complexity and costs” all round.

Concerns that self-employed workers could face a ‘pensions crisis’

A new study has warned that many self-employed workers, contractors and freelancers in the UK could be heading towards a retirement saving crisis.

Insurance company Prudential spoke to more than 1,200 self-employed people across the country and found that nearly half (43 per cent) have no pension at all, compared to just four per cent of employed workers who said they had no savings.

The study also found that:

  • 36 per cent of the self-employed say they cannot afford to save for retirement
  • 31 per cent say they will be relying entirely on the state pension to fund their retirement
  • 28 per cent will be reliant on their business to provide the income they need

The analysis also revealed that self-employed workers are more likely to save generally, if not for a pension, in order to create a safety net for themselves (64 per cent save in comparison to 57 per cent of those in employment).

Worryingly, only one in 10 self-employed workers see a financial adviser regularly, despite one in five (19 per cent) reporting that they are not confident with money and financial matters.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) said the recent findings mirrored it’s own recent research on pension savings amongst self-employed workers and is calling for more action to help workers save.

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Majority of workers opting for freelancing and flexible working over ‘9 to 5’

The archetypal 9am to 5pm working day might be so ingrained into the psyche of workers across the Western world that Dolly Parton wrote a song about it, but new research has revealed that it is now an unusual way to make a living for UK workers.

The YouGov survey found that just six per cent of UK workers now work the typical 9 to 5.

Instead, researchers discovered that nearly half of those questioned enjoyed flexible working arrangements, such as freelancing, contracting and working zero-hours contracts.

Respondents said that they preferred this much more flexible approach to work as it enabled them to mix their work with other commitments.

There was little appetite from respondents to the survey, commissioned by fast-food chain McDonalds, to return to the 9 to 5, either.

The workers questioned revealed themselves to be larks, rather than owls, with 37 per cent wishing to work from 8am to 4pm and 21 per cent wishing to work from 7am to 3pm.

And finally…

A once-popular restaurant chain in China has lost millions of pounds in market value following an unusual complaint from a mortified customer.

Xiabu Xiabu, which has restaurants across China’s Shandong province, has lost an estimated £145 million after it served a pregnant woman a soup containing one very furry unwanted ingredient.

According to a report in Sky News, the mother-to-be, who was dining at a Xiabu Xiabu restaurant in Weifang, was horrified to find a boiled rat lurking in her hotpot.

The disgruntled customer, who fished out the furry mammal using a pair of chopsticks, took photos and videos as proof prior to issuing a complaint to the restaurant’s manager.

Naturally, the content quickly ended up being circulated across social media, giving the restaurant chain a bad name and pushing it’s nationwide sales down by a shocking 12 per cent.

Some might see this as unfair, but reports suggest that the restaurant’s owners were not exactly very forgiving when the unnamed customer and her husband approached them to issue a complaint beforehand.

According to reports, instead of a discount on their final bill, an apology, or an offer for the pregnant lady to undertake a medical check-up, the outlet effectively tried to haggle with the couple, making cash offers in an attempt to keep them quiet.