Am I Self-Employed? Determining Employment Status in the UK

Employment status is one of HMRCs (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) hotter topics, especially at the moment, with a consultation about bringing forwards rules to tackle what they are calling “bogus self employment”. This is a bigger deal in the UK than in the majority of EU countries because of the considerably larger than average contractor workforce.So what is bogus self employment?The rules governing self employment are exceedingly tricky. They consist of 4 concepts; “The Right of Control”, “Financial Risk and Reward”, “Mutuality of Obligation” and “Substitution”. Each of these concepts brings with it a set of ideas and tests, but these are a guide rather than a set of requirements. If you were to fail some of the tests it wouldn’t automatically mean you should be an employee, equally passing most of them would not guarantee that you were self employed.To further complicate things the circumstances on site can override any contracts that are in place. Your contract may be written in such a way as to give you the “Right of control”, but if the person you report to on site can tell you how to do your job, that is what will count to HMRC.So bogus self employment is when a contractor by deliberate intent or misunderstanding is working self employed but if following the HMRC criteria should be classed as an employee.What are the HMRC criteria?The Right of ControlThis essentially covers your ability to exercise control over the way you work on site and the freedom you can exercise as a contractor. When it comes to working on site, you might be told what you have to do in a broad sense; the specifications of a job and where to carry it out, but not the specifics of how to carry it out; the location of a plug socket, but not how to wire it in. Your freedom as a contractor deals more with things like your relationship with the client be it your contractual relationship or otherwise. For example if you are legitimately self-employed you wouldn’t have to ask permission to take holiday, but equally you would not expect to be paid holiday pay, statutory benefits, or even overtime.The details of what’s required should all be set out within your original assignment, everything from location and deadline through to the price for the job. The further you stray from your assignment the greater the risk that you will be seen as employed by HMRC.Financial Risk and RewardThis is your financial independence from the client, if you are supplying your own tools, your own Public Liability Insurance and bear the risk of making the loss on your work, these will all support a case for self-employment. Any financial reliance on the client beyond that of the previously negotiated contract, be it for training, materials, or overtime, increases the chance that you will be judged as bogusly self-employed.This chance of making a loss is one of the corner stones of establishing self-employment status. If you make a mistake you should make it right, and for no extra charge, that is the risk you’ve taken on by accepting the contract.The Right of SubstitutionSubstitution is your right as a self-employed contractor to send someone to work in your place, it also gives you the option of bringing someone with you to help complete a job. It’s important to note that you don’t have to make use of the right but it should be available to you. The contract with the client will remain with you, and you will be responsible for the work carried out, bearing the financial risk, but gives you the freedom to pursue other contracts.Substitution used to be the giant killer of the process of determining employment, if you had the right to substitution you were seen as self-employed. This lead to overconfidence with substitution being included in contracts as a matter of course, despite the circumstances on site disagreeing. As a result people were caught out when it came time to test the contract, weakening the overall argument for substitution. It is still a very important part of proving self-employment, but it has to stand up to close inspection from HMRC whether it’s on site or in the contract.Mutuality of ObligationThis is perhaps the trickiest of the four to explain. It examines the relationship between a contractor and client and what they are obliged to do for one another. For a self employed contractor, there should be no obligation between them and the client. No obligation for the client to find the contractor work, no obligation of the contractor to accept any work offered or even stay on site after a job has been completed no matter how long before any deadline that might be.If you were an employee, not only would you be obliged to carry out any work offered, your employer would be obligated to find you that work or pay you regardless. Unlike a self-employed contractor you would also not be able to refuse to work at a different location (so long as out of pocket expenses are paid), and if you wished to leave you would be required to give your employer notice.Establishing the mutuality of obligation requirement can get quite cloudy especially for self employed contractors as sometimes proving a lack of obligation can be a challenge. A client happy with their work may offer more, and if the contractor is happy to extend the relationship he may accept, but this doesn’t mean he’s suddenly an employee, it is the point at which either party becomes obligated to the other that creates the risk of bogus self employment.It’s not all cut and dryAs you can see it is rarely black and white, you might be in a situation where due to site security or specialisation you cannot substitute or for whatever reason cannot use your own tools. This doesn’t immediately put you at risk, as long as your argument is strong in other areas, and you have the proof to back it up it would be difficult to judge you bogusly self employed.

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The Truth About Celebrity Health and Fitness

Obesity is growing at an outrageous pace with every passing year. Some people have chosen to put their health on the back burner. When people do this, they are putting their health at risk for obesity and other diseases. Most celebrities have been trying to set a good example for everyone to go.Some people think celebrities are born with a special gene that allows them to eat unforeseen amounts of junk food and still stay healthy. This is far from the truth! Celebrities are just like everyone else. They have to watch what they eat. Jennifer Lopez is a good example of a celebrity who puts in hard work to stay in shape and healthy. Jennifer Lopez weighs 120 pounds and she is 5’7″ tall. She is disciplined about her health with regular workouts and a balanced diet. Another example is Sylvester Stallone who stands 5’9″ tall and weighs 220 pounds. Stallone is known for his health conscience. Stallone gains his muscle and stays healthy by eating right and working out!Celebrities have to stay in shape if they want to stay in the game and they know it! Many people will say they have personal chef’s and fitness trainers to help them. Yes, this might be true. However, they are still the one who has to climb on the treadmill or eat brown rice. It is still their choice. One fitness program followed by many celebrities, but is very affordable is called Turbulence Training.Celebrity’s diets normally consist of healthy carbohydrates and fats. You will also find celebrities snacking on foods that are rich in fibers. Fiber is important to keep your energy level up. You will find that there are fewer calories in food rich in fiber, healthy carbohydrates, and fats!Plain and simple, if you want to lose weight, you have to put in the work. You might not have a personal chef, but you do have self control. If you want to live a healthy life, you have to make healthy choices. Healthy choices include making healthy food choices and working out. Celebrities might have a little help pointing them in the right direction, but ultimately they are the ones making the decision to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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Learn Everything You Need to Know About Underwater Photography

The first and most important element of success with underwater photography or underwater digital photography is your choice of camera. Obviously, you need to purchase a camera designed specifically for underwater photography or purchase an absolutely watertight housing for your camera.Personally, I recommend starting out with a disposable or inexpensive underwater camera to see if underwater photography is for you.Before you go scuba diving, it’s a good idea to practice taking photos underwater in a swimming or wading pool. You can drop some heavy objects that will sink down to the bottom of the pool and then float some lighter objects in the water, as well. Try shooting from different angles.For beginners who don’t have professional lighting equipment, it’s a good idea to shoot photos within the first few/top meters of water. If you want to shoot photographs of objects further down, select an area of shallow water where the light will be better.Initially, it’s also easiest to shoot in clear water, as well. Murky water or water with lots of sediment makes it difficult to see your subject. It’s also easy to stir up particles of the sediment that can show up in the photograph as they float through the water.Use an underwater photographer’s mask so you can see properly while diving and clearly see the image you’re composing. Then be sure you don’t just snap a photo. Instead compose a picture. Just like other types of photography, underwater photography should be deliberate and focused.Follow the rule of thirds, diagonals, or other commonly accepted guidelines for composition when creating underwater photographs, just as you would for other photos.Look for colorful, interesting subjects to photograph. Then get as close to your subject as you can and use the flash. Remember, the deeper underwater you go, the less light you have, and thus the less colors will show up. A flash revitalizes your color.Try to change the angle of your camera as necessary so your background is a solid color or a neutral color so that your subject really stands out.Try close up or macro photos with a macro lens. Then experiment with a telephoto lens to get close-up shots of your subjects without spooking the fish or other underwater creatures. Try different lenses to get different effects.Prepare your camera properly before immersing it. This means making sure you have a fully charged battery, your memory stick is properly installed, the lens is clean, the lens cap is off, your settings have been selected the way you want them (be sure to set your auto focus point before you take the camera underwater), and the camera housing does not leak. Also test any flash or strobes to ensure everything is working properly.Many of the principles of “normal” photography apply to underwater photography, as well, but it is particularly important to plan ahead for underwater photography, as it’s much more difficult to change a memory card or a battery or do some of the other things that can be quickly adjusted outside of the water. Take your time to familiarize yourself with your camera, plan for your photo session, and then have fun experimenting under water!

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