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Coronavirus: the situation for UK-based sole traders
Thread poster: Tom in London

Hesam Arki
Iran
Local time: 19:20
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
Don't hold your breath Mar 13

Based on Iran, we are in the same boat!!!
For as long as I can remember, There has never been any support from the government for translators!!!
Now due to the epidemic of novel virus, this bitter fact is more tangible than other days.
I sincerely hope that we all could get ride of this situation and would be able to save a lot for rainy days!

Wishing you all the best.


expressisverbis
Joanna Posylek
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Insurance Mar 13

Wendy Cummings wrote:
I would be interested to hear from anyone with income protection insurance and whether it applies to such a situation?

That's an interesting point. I have income protection insurance, but it is designed to protect against business lost from poor health rather than business lost from economic downturns. I assume, but have not checked, that loss of business caused by a coronavirus infection would be covered. It is limited to £2,000 a month, so not very generous.

Regards,
Dan


Andrew Morris
 

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:50
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Not good news... Mar 13

Here is the answer to your question Tom, although it may not be helpful in financial or compensatory terms.
While those in employment are supposed to all get statutory sick pay (including those who are in the "gig economy" but qualify as employees, which includes some freelance translators and interpreters - this is around £90 per week...), what is being offered is that the self-employed sign up for universal credit (benefits which you can also apply for if you are in employment and on a
... See more
Here is the answer to your question Tom, although it may not be helpful in financial or compensatory terms.
While those in employment are supposed to all get statutory sick pay (including those who are in the "gig economy" but qualify as employees, which includes some freelance translators and interpreters - this is around £90 per week...), what is being offered is that the self-employed sign up for universal credit (benefits which you can also apply for if you are in employment and on a low income), which due to the current situation, can reportedly be done solely online without the need to visit the Job Centre. The only "benefit" for the self-employed from the budget is that for those already on universal credit, the minimum income floor (MIF) (your assumed income) is removed until the pandemic is over at least, which was a problematic feature for many low-income self-employed.
It may be worth starting a thread somewhere on how freelance translators/interpreters/linguists are managing with universal credit so we can offer each other support; depending on assets and income, some may not be eligible although the rules have reportedly been made more flexible due to the current situation.
This is the latest guidance and it is updated here:
https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/?utm_source=http://news.dwp.gov.uk/dwplz/&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Touchbase%20140&utm_term=Touchbase%20140&utm_content=48865
Of relevance to sole traders:
"If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance" and "If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected."

I hope that is helpful.

Aisha
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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Load of old cobblers Mar 13

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Jings, I hadn't read that it affected fish too. Looks like Dover sole's off the menu for a month or two.


It's not just the sole traders who are in trouble, it's also punctured the stiletto market.

[Edited at 2020-03-13 17:31 GMT]


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:50
German to English
Recommendation here in the United States Mar 14

The question of what support freelancers can expect was addressed on MSNBC here in the United States this evening. The answer: Don't expect government to do much, if anything. Nobody really cares much about freelancers.

Suggestion: It's time to tap into your cash reserves. But don't deplete them all at once. Look around for low or zero-interest credit cards (there are currently plenty here in the US, at least), some of which offer interest-free credit for up to 21 months.

... See more
The question of what support freelancers can expect was addressed on MSNBC here in the United States this evening. The answer: Don't expect government to do much, if anything. Nobody really cares much about freelancers.

Suggestion: It's time to tap into your cash reserves. But don't deplete them all at once. Look around for low or zero-interest credit cards (there are currently plenty here in the US, at least), some of which offer interest-free credit for up to 21 months.

My own suggestion would also be to look at loans. With interest rates at all-time lows, credit is cheap and still available. If you have long-term assets you can put up as collateral, all the better.
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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 09:50
English to Russian
+ ...
Government help Mar 14

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan

However, Trump's suggestion to suspend payroll taxes till the end of the year as part of the relief, which would include freelancers as taxpayers, was killed in the crib.

Edited for typos

[Edited at 2020-03-14 13:40 GMT]


Dan Lucas
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:50
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don’t know what the British Government has done or will be doing, but... Mar 14

... the Portuguese Government has taken a few measures as social protection for self-employed workers due to the coronavirus:

• Allocation of justified absences for employees and independent workers who have to stay at home to accompany their children up to 12 years old;
• Exceptional financial support for self-employed workers who have to stay at home to accompany their children up to 12 years old, in the amount of 1/3 of the average salary;
• Extraordinary suppor
... See more
... the Portuguese Government has taken a few measures as social protection for self-employed workers due to the coronavirus:

• Allocation of justified absences for employees and independent workers who have to stay at home to accompany their children up to 12 years old;
• Exceptional financial support for self-employed workers who have to stay at home to accompany their children up to 12 years old, in the amount of 1/3 of the average salary;
• Extraordinary support to reduce the economic activity of self-employed workers and defer payment of contributions;
(…)

I suppose this has been informally agreed at EU level as I know other Member States have done the same.

P.S. Personally I’m not looking for any help and anyway I’m not covered (I’m the co-owner of a micro-enterprise (no employees), not a self-employed worker).
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RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:50
German to English
Payroll taxes? Mar 14

Irina,

As far as I can tell, the vague White House plans to suspend payroll taxes did not extend to self-employment taxes (freelancers only pay "payroll taxes" if they are classified as employees, for example, because they have made the S Corp election). And even if they did, self-employment taxes are normally only paid, in arrears, once a year, so the immediate effect for freelancers would have been zero in any case.

Economically, suspending payroll taxes is pretty mea
... See more
Irina,

As far as I can tell, the vague White House plans to suspend payroll taxes did not extend to self-employment taxes (freelancers only pay "payroll taxes" if they are classified as employees, for example, because they have made the S Corp election). And even if they did, self-employment taxes are normally only paid, in arrears, once a year, so the immediate effect for freelancers would have been zero in any case.

Economically, suspending payroll taxes is pretty meaningless in the first place, and its main effect would be to cut the funds available to the Social Security Administration and other agencies. As well as the free testing for everybody already decided, free Covid-19 treatment for everybody would also make much more sense economically. Plus, has been suggested, a $1000 check for every adult and a $500 check for every child.

And no repeat of what one asset management strategist called "the most expensive speech in history".
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Michele Fauble
Kevin Fulton
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 09:50
English to Russian
+ ...
Robin, legally it's one and the same Mar 14

"Self-employed people are responsible for paying the same federal income taxes as everyone else. The difference is that they don't have an employer to withhold money from their paycheck and send it to the IRS—or to share the burden of paying Social Security and Medicare taxes."

Payroll is but an adjective chosen for employees due to the physical process of paying taxes. Freelancers could not possibly have been left out.

Self-employed are supposed to pay upfront, quart
... See more
"Self-employed people are responsible for paying the same federal income taxes as everyone else. The difference is that they don't have an employer to withhold money from their paycheck and send it to the IRS—or to share the burden of paying Social Security and Medicare taxes."

Payroll is but an adjective chosen for employees due to the physical process of paying taxes. Freelancers could not possibly have been left out.

Self-employed are supposed to pay upfront, quarterly, based on the last year's income.

Expensive for whom? Should we eliminate fraud, incompetence, overspending, overcharging and feeding of able but unwilling, we could cut SS and "other agencies" budgets and staffs in half and still provide plenty for the retirees, truly deserving, needy and sick. I'm sure MSNBC didn't mention that. Maybe Trump could do something about it with his business approach but he must spend all his time fighting off packs of losers of last elections, who keep promising everything to everyone for nothing only to climb back on, who left us the inheritance of overblown and incompetent government agencies, never mind their noble names and missions. Please remember, I'm from the USSR, I know how it works:-), and I'm way over 40 to remain a socialist.

There are too many talking heads around, all experts and strategists. I haven't been listening to the mainstream media news of any political platform for the last 5 years, sorry.

I am far from being a passionate supporter of every Trump's deed but I would not discontinue Thanksgiving if he opens a turkey ranch.

To moderators - if I ventured too far into politics, please let me know or keep just the first 3 paragraphs:-) Thank you.
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samson masai
 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:50
German to English
Well, you finally got your reply Mar 21

Tom in London wrote: There doesn't appear to be anything in yesterday's Budget to safeguard translators working as sole traders. Or did I miss something?


Basically, "go away and don't bother us."

'Treasury minister Stephen Barclay said it would be "operationally" hard to protect self-employed incomes. He said the self-employed were being helped by measures such as the deferral of self-assessment tax requirements, payment holidays for mortgage payers and the strengthening of the welfare "safety net".'

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51984275

Compare this situation with Germany, where the government has launched a €50bn programme to support the self-employed (including freelancers) and micro-businesses, combining direct support payments with bridge loans, in recognition of the huge role they play in the economy.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Idiot Mar 21

RobinB wrote:

'Treasury minister Stephen Barclay said ....




Stephen Barclay is widely known to be an idiot. Provision will be made for the self-employed but he doesn't know anything about it, which is why he gave that reply.

https://tinyurl.com/wfyl988

MP for South West Devon Sir Gary Streeter, a senior Tory backbencher, responded that the government was aware of the situation and signalled assistance would be forthcoming.

He replied: "Treasury ministers are working up a plan for self employed. More details early next week. There will be help."

[Edited at 2020-03-21 18:30 GMT]


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:50
German to English
:-) Mar 21

Tom in London wrote: Stephen Barclay is widely known to be an idiot. Provision will be made for the self-employed but he doesn't know anything about it, which is why he gave that reply.


So he'll get sacked, right?

I wish you luck with whatever plan the UK government comes up with. Many T&Is are already feeling the effects of the crisis, even before thebigword unilaterally decided to cut rates by 15%.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
No sack Mar 21

RobinB wrote:

So he'll get sacked, right?


Not for being an idiot. If all politicians got sacked for being idiots, we'd soon run out of politicians.



[Edited at 2020-03-21 21:12 GMT]


writeaway
Angie Garbarino
 

Mark Hemming  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Slovenian to English
+ ...
I think it's going to be a rough couple of months Mar 22

The only UK government help to be hinted at for freelancers relates to tax payments - my accountant thinks that July's on account payments will be deferred for payment until the end of the year, but no official confirmation as yet as far as I know.

[Edited at 2020-03-22 11:05 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
CONfirmed Mar 22

Mark Hemming wrote:

The only UK government help to be hinted at for freelancers relates to tax payments - my accountant thinks that July's on account payments will be deferred for payment until the end of the year, but no official confirmation as yet as far as I know.

[Edited at 2020-03-22 11:05 GMT]


Your accountant needs to get up to speed. The deferral was confirmed on Friday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I heard him saying it. The July payment has been deferred until 31 January 2021. Now the self-employed are waiting to hear more, on Monday.

And from today's "Guardian": "The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) is calling for Sunak [the Chancellor] to offer self-employed workers 80% of their wages, as he has done for employees whose employers have no work for them. It believes this could be assessed and delivered through the self-assessment tax system millions of freelancers already use."

https://tinyurl.com/v7zo437

[Edited at 2020-03-22 15:58 GMT]


 
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