Lawyer warns of tax changes

A lawyer has warned that many subcontractors in the haulage sector could lose out when the government makes changes to tax rules in April 2016.

Haydn Rogen, partner at Weightmans, said the sector has seen a significant increase in the use of subcontractors setting up as ‘personal service companies’- firms that remunerate through dividends rather than wages to reduce their tax liabilities.

Rogen said: “One such measure is the change to the taxation of dividends which take effect from 6 April 2016. Another is the removal of the NIC (National Insurance contributions) employment allowance where the director is the sole employee.

“Extracting profits by way of dividend as opposed to salary will, absent any future increases in the dividend tax rates, still generally be more tax efficient but the tax savings will be reduced.”

Rogen said such companies may also be hit by planned changes to the IR35, also known as the Finance Act 2000, which aims to prevent individuals from avoiding tax by disguising their true employment status. The RHA said last month that it has seen an increase in the number of operators paying drivers as subcontractors, even though they should be defined as employees. HMRC has published guidance on how to decide whether should be employed or self-employed.

Rogen added: “The second limb of attack is likely to come via changes to IR35, in relation to which the government believes there remains significant non-compliance, and the restriction of the tax rules re travel and subsistence payments, both of which are currently subject to consultation.

“One thing that is clear is that further tax changes affecting companies operating within the transport and logistics sector, particularly personal service companies, are likely.”
 

Escalating migrant aggression at Calais port has created unprecedented situation for HGV drivers, says FTA

Violent scenes witnessed yesterday (17 December) in and around Calais have been described as unprecedented by the FTA. 

Touring the Eurotunnel facilities on what was expected to be the busiest day of the year for vehicles travelling through Calais, Chris Yarsley, manager for road freight and enforcement policy at the FTA, viewed first-hand migrants attacking trucks as they queued on the motorway.
 
Yarsley said: “I am flabbergasted at what I have seen today; there were literally thousands of migrants benefitting from the queue of slow moving traffic on the roads around Calais.  They were attacking vehicles; breaking the locks of trucks, slashing roofs of the lorries and climbing in the back of them.

“French Police were highly visible and were taking extreme measures to break up the crowds including using tear gas and closing the motorway in order to control the situation, but appeared to be overwhelmed by the numbers.”

Yarsley said the migrants appeared to be organised, with reports of disturbances in the town centre to divert police away from protecting the HGV traffic heading into the port.

“The situation in Calais is totally unacceptable - the area is clearly in crisis.  Whatever your views on the plight of migrants and asylum seekers, no-one has a right to threaten, intimidate or physically attack drivers,” said Yarsley.

It came as the Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) released photographs of a truck damaged by stone-throwing migrants in Calais (main pictures), which it said highlighted the growing problem of violence towards drivers at the port.

 

The windscreen of the Virginia International Logistics lorry was cracked in two places in the attack.  FTAI said the driver was told by police to report the incident at the police station in town, which would have meant leaving the port and travelling back through for a second time.
 
Neil McDonnell, general manager of FTAI, said: “We understand the terrible conditions under which migrants and asylum seekers are living in Calais. However, nothing excuses violent conduct against freight drivers. If this behaviour continues, it is only a matter of time until a confrontation between immigrants and drivers results in serious injury, or worse.”

The RHA has called for the French military to be deployed at the port to bolster police and security officials there and return law and order to the port.

Ealier this week Commercialmotor.com revealed that plans for a new secure truck park at the Port of Calais face serious delay with the deadline pushed back from November 2015 to sometime in the spring of next year.