Proof of self employment!
I’ve had more fun chasing down late payments since my last blog on the dilemmas of confronting clients who appear to regard my invoices as optional. A new customer has presented me with a novel excuse for failing to pay – the organisation in question claims it is not able to do so until I supply proof that I’m self-employed.
Apparently, this is a requirement the client has had placed on it by HM Customs & Revenue, which noticed it had dealings with a great number of self-employed contractors and got nervous about the sums being paid out to those freelancers – presumably it is worried the right tax isn’t being paid on the money.
I suppose I have to be charitable and accept my client’s story, though it’s the first time I’ve come across such an arrangement.
It’s certainly a pain in the neck – I’ve now got to dig out various arcane documents giving details of my national insurance contributions, simply to get paid for work that I’ve already supplied. It’s the sort of red tape I could really do without. And surely it’s my responsibility – my legal obligation, in fact – to ensure that any tax liability arising from the work is settled in full? Moreover, what happens if I fail to supply the correct documentation? Is my client entitled to simply refuse to pay my bill?
Naturally, I’ve kicked up a bit of a fuss, which may mean a new client I hoped might be able to put quite a bit of work my way goes elsewhere in future. But as a busy freelancer, life is just too short for this sort of hassle.