Levies for allegedly unpaid taxes, no supporting calculations and no right of appeal. The House of Lords finds that HMRC has been acting aggressively and disproportionately to freelancers it suspects of having avoided tax.
From David Byers in The Times:
The economic affairs committee in the House of Lords this week said that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was overusing “disproportionate” powers that allow it to demand swift payments of unpaid tax from those it suspects of tax avoidance. Those suspected have no right to appeal to a tribunal.
Members said that accelerated payment notices (APNs) and follower notices were being aimed unfairly at lower and middle-income freelancers such as IT workers and NHS nurses, rather than the promoters of tax avoidance schemes.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the committee, said the balance of power had “tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer should expect”.
Two pieces in The Times, here and here.
The report from the House of Lords committee, here.
Image via Pixabay.
Life calls us forth to independence, and anyone who does not heed the call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis.
Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (Collected Works, volume 5)
Via Jordan Peterson.
About a year ago, I had a long discussion with a prospective client about this. The simple fact is that charging by the day, or per word, creates an immediate conflict of interest: the client is motivated to go short while you are motivated to go long.
I was reminded of this by a marketing mail from John Niland’s VCO Global:
Charging for time is easy. It’s familiar in many sectors: from the oldest profession to the newest. However, there are three problems with hour/day rates:
1: While on the surface, a day-rate is easy to agree with your client, it creates a fundamental conflict of interestin most relationships. Your client wants the fewest days possible: you often need more time to do a quality job. Furthermore, the client is likely to involve you later rather than earlier, in order to save cost…
The webinar being promoted looks interesting.
Image: Photo by Aron on Unsplash
These are really good: two (different) lectures by Jordan Peterson in Iceland. As I recall, the second lecture starts with some background on how he came to write 12 Rules for Life.
The book made its way to the top of the Must-Read pile and I’m currently half-way through. Exceptionally lucid.
And, as Stoic Week nears its end, I see a lot of commonality between Peterson’s responsibility-over-rights perspective and the Stoic perspective.
Set aside a few (well, five) hours to feed the mind…
Seth Godin on trust … and how easily it’s lost.
I’ve wasted many hours over the last few months trying to work my way through some significant bugs (workflow and data loss) with them, and each of the many customer service people I’ve worked with have pushed me to do more testing, and they’ve clearly stated that my problem is unique. This ‘bluff, stall and get used to it’ strategy is the sort of thing one might expect from a traveling salesman. Yesterday they finally let me know that in fact it’s a known issue, that it affects many people with hardware and software like mine, and I’m stuck with it. I can’t easily rip it out, and I can’t happily work with it either.
Interestingly, I recently had a similar issue with Sonos. They were, admittedly, a little slow to respond, but worked hard to resolve my issue (album tracks losing their correct order and appearing alphabetically under each album). And, as a result, they’ve retained trust and an advocate.
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash
The always inspiring Nicholas Bate reminds us of the secret to success – just start:
- Start, whatever your mood, whatever the weather.
- Start small.
- Start with a bang.
- Start to prove them wrong.
Start by reading Nicholas each morning, here.
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash
Here’s the always thoughtful and excellent Jaron Lanier in a 20-minute interview on Channel 4 News, talking about the effect of social media.
Lanier is a fascinating, new-Renaissance man: a writer on computer-philosophy, a computer scientist and programmer of very high regard (one of the fathers of VR), an artist and a musician.
His theme here builds on a point raised in his 2010 book You Are Not A Gadget: that our perspective on the world is imperceptibly shaped and limited by the tools we use to perceive it: if your spectacles are the wrong prescription, you don’t see things far away; if your search engine tailors results to your tastes, you don’t see what you don’t know. Here, he adds the impact of social media algorithms tailoring your world view based on your response to what you see.
Image: LAVREB University of Siena
You don’t need to be one in a million to succeed, but you should aim for one in a hundred.
One hundred is an interesting number. In ancient Rome, a Centurion commanded one hundred men (usually between 60 and 150). Even today, an army company will comprise about 100-150 soldiers. Reaching 100 employees is a landmark, and a step-change, for a growing business.
The anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed, in 1992, that the human brain can maintain a maximum of around 150 social relationships (Dunbar’s Number). In more recent research, he has found that the average number of Facebook Friends is 155. You can have more links, of course. Clicking is easy, but maintaining real social relationships is hard.
Take that across to a typical professional scenario. Your business relies on the relationship (not transactional) model: clients need to know and trust you. When your client faces a problem, they can choose from just 100-150 trusted relationships to solve it.
You want to be that one per cent – the one person best suited to save the day.
Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash
Here’s a useful post from Abdullahi Muhammed on Forbes.com: 4 Passive Income Streams Freelancers Should Create To Secure Their Futures.
One of the ongoing challenges that sovereign professionals face is the direct relationship between time and money: if you work, you earn; if you don’t work, you don’t earn.
It manifests itself in other ways, too. When you’re busy you can quickly hit an earnings ceiling: there are no more hours to work and you feel like you’re leaving money on the table.
A useful goal, therefore, is to create passive income streams: ways to generate revenue even when you’re on the beach. An obvious example is the successful novelist or recording artist who earns royalties from a popular back-catalogue.
Abdullahi offers four routes to passive income, here.
Photo by Salvador Martin Yeste on Unsplash
Nicholas Bate with sound advice for those kicking their heels and waiting for university to start:
1.Decide your timetable. Work time, play time. Be time. Creative time. Writing time. Schedule it. Timetables work.
5. Read more than the reading list. By definition, that’s a minimum. Make it a habit not to do the minimum.
6. Stop playing with your phone when you should be working.
8. Clean up your fountain pen. And write more long-hand. There’s a stack of benefits in the hand-eye-brain connection, the aesthetics of hand-writing and a break from the key-board.
9. Thank great teachers. It’s nice to be appreciated.
Make it a habit not to do the minimum. Sage advice.
Read the full list, here.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash