What insurance do you need as a contractor?

When starting up as a contractor, taking out appropriate insurance should be one of the top things on your to-do list.

 

Why do you need it?

Rather than being just another cost to factor in, insurance can help you secure that first contract, as most clients and agencies will insist that you’re sufficiently insured before investing in your services.

There are other benefits in seeking protection from insurance, beyond the obvious peace of mind that it brings: it provides you with cover should you be accused of causing property or reputational damage. Insurance also acts as a key IR35 status indicator, signifying to HMRC that you’re genuinely self-employed and not a ‘disguised employee’.

To put it plainly, having appropriate protection in place makes business sense and gives you credibility. The question is, what business insurance do you need?

The answer will vary depending on your area of business. But there are three types of insurance that nearly all contractors will require:

 

1. Professional Indemnity

It goes without saying that you want to do a great job for your clients, for reasons of professional pride and repeat business, but sometimes errors or omissions can occur which can cause a relationship to go sour.

Being accused of professional negligence is just about every contractor’s worst nightmare, but when you have Professional Indemnity insurance, you don’t live in fear of an accusation by a client that your work has cost them money. It provides cover for legal defence costs and if damages are awarded against you.

 

2. Public Liability

If your line of work dictates that you have to work in someone else’s premises or out in the field, then you’ll need Public Liability insurance. It provides protection in the event of an accident while supplying services; for example, injuring a passer-by or breaking a valuable piece of equipment.

The protection will cover the cost of any potential lawsuits, replacements, legal fees, medical bills and compensation resulting from an accident. Failure to take out Public Liability can lead to you having to pay compensation out of your own pocket.

 

3. Employers’ Liability

If your company employs anyone other than yourself, you’ll need Employers’ Liability insurance. In fact, if you employ more than one employee, it’s a legal requirement to take out cover. Employers’ Liability insurance protects you against the cost of compensation as a result of employee injury or illness.

While a claim against you might be unlikely, especially if you have a close relationship with your employee(s), many agencies and clients will only consider your company if you’re sufficiently covered.

 

Where can you buy the right insurance?

The amount of cover required depends on your individual circumstances – the degree of risk can vary considerably depending on what it is that you offer and how it’s offered. But, it can be difficult to ascertain just how much cover you might need. Some insurers make contractors’ lives easier by offering packages that come with comprehensive cover as standard.

Specialist contractor insurance provider Kingsbridge combine Public Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers’ Liability cover into one single policy. This policy also comes with Occupational Personal Accident cover as standard, plus Directors’ and Officers’ Liability insurance.

 

To find out more about Kingbridge, click here.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

 

Are Christmas party expenses claimable through your Limited Company?

Christmas party expenses

The festive season is well and truly upon us and with less than two weeks until the big day, this weekend is traditionally the most popular weekend for the office Christmas party. So if you’re currently contracting in the midst of the office excitement on site, it’s only natural to feel a little left out…

 

Even though HMRC is the Grinch throughout most of the year, they do allow even the smallest Limited Company to enjoy the festivities, by permitting a tax exemption for the allowable costs of a Christmas event. So if you’re a one-person band you can still give yourself a festive celebration for working so hard throughout 2016.

 

What is the tax exemption allowance?

HMRC allows a 20% tax exemption for all festive entertaining costs, so you effectively only pay 80% of the costs.

 

And should you be a one-person band you don’t have to party alone. Read on to find out how you can invite others to your party…

 

HMRC’s rules for festive partying

For your event to qualify for the tax exemption, it must be:

 

1. Annually recurring

The date when the event is held or the type of the event is irrelevant, as long as it’s annually recurring HMRC allow it to be claimable. If you decide to hold a one-off event for either just yourself or others (such as employees, family, etc), you must still account for the expenses, but they will not be treated by HMRC as tax allowable.

 

2. Available to employees in one location

If your Limited Company has employees in various locations, the event must be held in one central location, which is accessible for all. The event must be available for both directors and staff, or director’s guests (such as spouses or civil partners, and children of the directors and employees).

 

So in theory, as the director of your own Limited Company you could hold a Christmas party for your immediate family.

 

3. A maximum of £150 per person

For each person who attends the event an additional £150 per person is allowable. The £150 is an absolute maximum which HMRC strictly applies.

 

The £150 limit must include VAT, transport costs to and from the event, and the total cost of any overnight accommodation. These costs are then combined and divided between the number of attendees, to arrive at the cost per head.

 

Should the total amount per head exceed the £150 limit, the maximum exemption will not apply and the total amount will be taxed. HMRC are very strict about this allowance so if you’re unsure, speak to your Personal Accountant to ensure your calculations are correct.

 

What happens if you have more than one event per year?

Hosting company events isn’t just exclusive to the festive period, you are able to host events throughout the year. You could choose for example, to host a summer event and a Christmas event. So long as the total combined amount does not exceed £150 per head per tax year, the exemption will still apply.

 

Should any individual event cost exceed this limit, HMRC will only apply the exemption to expenses for the events that fell within the allowable limit.

 

Final thoughts – have fun!

Regardless of whether you will host a Christmas event, it’s a fantastic allowance that every Limited Company director is entitled to, so ensure you make the most of it. Why not start planning your next event today?

 

If you have any questions surrounding the annual events expenses, or any other type of Limited Company expenses, be sure to speak to Intouch’s team of expert advisers.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.