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Britain’s self-employed construction workers give the government another interest-free loan...

News and Views | 8th April 2016

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of self-employed construction workers has fallen by about 14,000 in the past twelve months to 738,762.  The reduction was mainly seen in those who class themselves as ‘part-time self-employed’.

As in previous years Lloyd Dowson Chartered Accountants have used this information, together with that collected through their tax return service – CIS Experts – to understand the benefits self-employed subbies under CIS give to the UK economy.

Lloyd Dowson’s figures from tax returns completed on behalf of 1,121 people who work self-employed on building sites reveal the following:

  • The average refund under CIS is £1,370
  • 92% of returns analysed were due a refund
  • 57% of the 1,121 worked all year on a wholly self-employed basis
  • 43% of the 1,121 freelance builders also worked part of the year as an employee or had other investments

Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield says:  “Equating this figure across the industry, it means that on average, construction’s self-employed workforce have ‘lent’ the Government nearly £800M for an entire year.  What’s more, the loan is interest free – and a significant number will fail to claim their refund.

“Across the board, this year’s rebates are slightly down on last year.  This is due partly to an increase in turnover, but also a result of increased HMRC scrutiny, especially on travel and spouse’s wages.  With HMRC clearly focused on increasing the tax take, it’s vitally important to ensure tax returns are correctly submitted.”

Lloyd Dowson invited HMRC to conduct a compliance review during the year.  The verdict:  “H. M. Revenue & Customs consider your practice to be a compliant tax agent for the work you undertake as CIS Experts.”