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Update: The fortunes of independent contracting

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The debate never seems to stop about whether being an independent worker is a good or bad thing.

Californian regulators and the Teamsters Union seem intent on forcing ride-sharing workers to be employees. There’s a $12 million lawsuit against Lyft  and Uber is involved in long drawn-out Californian litigation. Further, Californian lawmakers are looking to make it very difficult to work in the ‘gig’ economy.

By comparison, independent contractors are seen as key to the future of the Vermont economy.

We’ve been reporting for some time about the extraordinary rise of self-employment in the United Kingdom. Independent workers have been a big factor in the significant drop in UK unemployment. But there are warnings. The UK tax authorities are on the hunt for a new definition of self-employment. Contractorcalculator says this creates an opportunity for the tax authorities to create traps. We’d agree.

Given our calls for more scrutiny of, and accountability by, the Australian Taxation Office, we’d join the caution about fiddling with definitions. In fact the definition of an independent contractor, self-employed person is clear and established across the globe. We explain it here.

But at least in Australia some tax issues are being fixed. Capital gains tax structures for small business people are about to be made clearer.


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