April; it was the month where the blossom bloomed, the sun shone and the pubs finally pulled pints after a winter of lockdown. We hope that all our freelancers have managed to get out and explore some of those new freedoms – whether your idea of a good time is a sweaty spin class or an all-day shopping spree. Once again, we’ve gathered all the news from this month that might affect freelancers in one handy blog, so you can make sure you haven’t missed anything while you were distracted by the rule of 6 gatherings.
New off-payroll working rules
This month saw the start of the new tax year, which meant that the private sector IR35 reform came into force. If this sounds like we’ve just strung a string of nonsense words together, then you need to check out this blog, which deals with the ins and outs of the new legislation, how to tell if you’re affected, and what you need to do if you are. These new rules are designed to stop “disguised employment”: people taking payment as contractors when they are in fact more like employees of a company. The good news is that many freelancers won’t be affected – they only apply if you deliver your services through your own limited company, not if you’re registered as a sole trader. If you think IR35 might apply to you, head here to find out more: I’m a freelancer – does IR35 apply to me?
This also means that you can now submit your 2020/21 Self-Assessment tax return. Here’s a revolutionary idea – how about not leaving it till the last minute this year?
Excited doesn’t quite capture the mood amongst the Dinghy team when the next stage of lockdown restrictions were lifted on April 12th. We were all ready for a taste of freedom. However, opening up brought with it new anxieties, so we looked at what freelancers could do to prepare for lockdown ending, which covered everything from how to win back old clients to how to keep yourself COVID-secure when you’re out and about. In the light of recent news events, we explored how freelancers might be vulnerable when working and travelling alone, so we did some research on how we can keep ourselves safe. Lots of the advice is simple stuff – make sure someone knows where you are, and who you’re with – but it’s all too easily forgotten in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of freelance life, so we recommend making these precautions part of your routine so that they become second nature.
We also looked back over a year in lockdown and what that has meant for freelancers. Reliving all the lockdowns, gaps in government support schemes and home-schooling trauma meant that we immediately felt like we needed a break, so our thoughts turned to planning this summer’s holiday. It’s never easy to find the downtime for a getaway when you’re a freelancer, and the coronavirus restrictions this year make things particularly difficult, especially if the shutdowns have significantly impacted your financial position. However, in our blog we come up with a few suggestions for holidays that might be achievable given the current situation – whether you’re clamouring for foreign climes or too stressed to even think about stepping on a plane.
22nd April was Earth Day, a global celebration of all things green and a chance for us to think about the impact that freelancing has on the planet. In our blog, we explored some tips for greening your freelance business and dug up some statistics on how much carbon you’ve saved by choosing Dinghy insurance, where all policies are offset by ecologi. Even though Earth Day has passed, it’s not too late to do your bit. Why not have a whip-round your house now: switch off some lights and appliances, sort out the recycling and wipe clean your old electronics ready to donate?
With the next round of lockdown easing set to take place on 17th May, freelancers look set to be headed for a productive and positive summer. Step 3 of lockdown lifting sees outdoor gatherings raised to 30, indoor hospitality and entertainment like cinemas and soft plays reopen, and even the return of some performances and events. If your freelance work is linked to one of these areas, prepare to be very busy indeed. We’re also hoping for more news about when it will be possible to lift the “work from home” advice. Make sure you’re set to make the most of the freelancing opportunities that come your way at the next stage by having business insurance for freelancers in place. Dinghy can set you up with professional indemnity, public liability and business equipment insurance policies that are flexible, no-hassle and low cost. Just visit our website for a quick quote.