How does tax change as a contractor?

Chris Andreou

April 21, 2021

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Contractors

The biggest change when working as a contractor compared with say working as an employee is that you will become a lot more aware of the taxes you are paying. This because contractors have a lot more control over their finances and taxes with the added responsibility of making sure this is paid correctly and on time.

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What is a directors loan account?

As a limited company director, you can access the money in your company bank account through a facility known as a director's loan.

This can come in handy in instances when your personal finances are in need of a boost, yet taking out a director's loan is a decision that requires careful consideration. That's because there are tax and accounting implications, and it's best to speak to an accountant so that you fully understand the consequences.

But before you dive into the details, you'll need to have an understanding of the basics-such as what a director's loan account is, what the loan can be used for, tax rules you need to be aware of and more.

Here's where our guide comes in:

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Guide to employing or hiring contractors

You have an important project at hand, and you require a contractor's specialist knowledge to fill in the skill gap in your team. You're ready to hire-except that you're unfamiliar with the hiring process.

If this is your first time hiring a contractor, our article will guide you through the essentials.

We'll cover the following:

  • Sourcing for contractors
  • Assessing contractor CVs
  • Interviewing a contractor
  • Payments
  • Contract terms
  • Terminating a contract
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How do I hire a new employee?

To hire a new employee, you need to:

If you're hiring staff for the first time, refer to HMRC's guide on the steps you need to take.

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7 ways to improve your monthly cash flow

Healthy cash flow is one of the most powerful weapons in a small company's arsenal.

In fact, cash on hand can be the deciding factor in a customer's choice to buy from your company or a competitor.

For instance, imagine landing the large order of your dreams, but losing the business to a competitor because you lack the capital necessary to prepay for the products needed to fill the customer's order. Fortunately, you can avoid this pitfall by making a few simple changes in your operations.

Below is a look at seven ways to grow your monthly cash flow by reducing expenses.

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How to Start Contracting Guide

  • What is a contractor
  • Types of contractors
  • Contractor business structures
  • Contractor accounting
  • Understanding IR35
  • Contractor insurance
  • Banking for contractors
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What is a contractor?

A contractor is a professional that provides skills and services to a specific client under set terms. The terms can be for a set number of hours, a certain time frame or duration of a project.

A contractor is responsible for their own dealings and has discretion over the work they carry out.

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How do I pay a Limited Company Pension?

If you're operating as a sole trader, you can contribute to a personal pension scheme.

If you're a limited company director, you can make pension contributions as an individual (as an employee), as well as through your company (as an employer). For the latter option, your pension contributions are paid directly from your business bank account.

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What are the advantages of contracting?

The advantages of contracting are:

  • Flexibility: Contractors have a lot more control over their work life often deciding when they work, where they work and how they work
  • Increased earnings: Contractors are often paid more due to their skillset and the flexible nature of their working relationships. Additionally, contractors who operate through their own limited company can benefit from tax efficiencies.
  • Greater development: Often working with multiple clients throughout their career, contractors are exposed to a lot of opportunities to develop their skills and build on their experience in their area of expertise.
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How to calculate holiday pay for overtime and commission payments

"What are the rules around holiday pay?" is a common question often asked by employers.

It can be confusing, as regulatory changes mean that employers now need to consider additional elements when working out an employee's holiday pay.

Simply put, employers now need to include regular commission and regular overtime payments when calculating an employee's or worker's holiday pay.

This is explained in further detail below:

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How do I become a contractor?

To become a contractor, you need to:

  • Do your research: The first step you'll need to do is to conduct in-depth research, and think through various important factors-from finances and tax implications, to lifestyle and business opportunities-to ascertain if becoming a contractor is the right decision for you.
  • Decide on how you'll operate: As a contractor, you may operate as a sole trader, through your own limited company, or work with an umbrella company or recruitment agency.
  • Develop a business strategy: Strategic planning isn't set in stone-but working out a plan is still helpful, as it is a way for you to consider multiple perspectives, identify potential opportunities and pitfalls and conceptualise back up plans you could fall back on.
  • Get your business finances and insurance sorted out: Setting up a business bank account, registering a company, determining the level of accounting support you need and investing in business insurance are important aspects you need to sort out before you begin contracting.
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What is a Director's Salary?

As a limited company director, you pay yourself through drawing a salary and receiving dividends from your company.

Drawing a salary from your company is fairly similar to how you'll be paid if you were employed elsewhere-you'll run payroll, submit the required information to HMRC each month and receive your salary (after income tax and NIC have been accounted for).

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Is a contractor self employed?

Contractors can be self-employed, a worker or an employee. Those who are employed through an umbrella company or an agency could be considered a worker or an employee.

If a contractor is a sole trader or runs a limited company, he or she will then be considered a self-employed person.

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What are Unallocated Payments?

Unallocated payments are where the client has given you more money than they owe.

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Contractors - should I be paying myself salary and dividends?

As a contractor, how you pay yourself will vary depending on whether your contract is subject to IR35.

  • Contract subject to IR35 (inside): Salary
  • Contract not subject to IR35 (outside): Salary, dividends + reimbursing any expenses you have paid for out of your own pocket

We've provided a more detailed explanation in our Forma Help Center resource.

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How do I pay myself as a contractor?

A contractor working through their own limited company can pay themselves through a couple of ways such as paying a salary and paying dividends. There are a few factors that need to be considered when deciding the best way to go about this.

For example, when operating inside IR35, contractors will be restricted to paying themselves a salary however when operating outside IR35 the doors are opened to maximise tax efficiencies.

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What are the different types of contractors?

There are different types of contractor jobs available across diverse sectors. Contractors may be hired to perform services such as:

  • Marketing
  • IT maintenance and support
  • Graphic design
  • Recruitment
  • Business development
  • Catering
  • Construction work
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How/ when do I pay myself Dividends?

NA

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How do I pay myself when Self Employed?

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How do I pay myself a salary?

If you're the director of a limited company, you're also considered an employee. As such, you may pay yourself a salary through the PAYE scheme-which is similar to how other employees of the company receive their pay.

You'll need to register as an employer with HMRC (even if you're only employing yourself as the sole director of a limited company), set up and run payroll, report to HMRC and abide by HMRC's record keeping requirements.

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Employing contractors

There are a few steps you'll need to consider with hiring contractors. These include:

  • Sourcing for contractors
  • Assessing contractor CVs
  • Interviewing a contractor
  • Payments
  • Contract terms
  • Terminating a contract
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