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A guide for Self-employed field archaeologists
Well for those of you thinking of setting up as Self Employed. Here is the BAJR Guide created by Marc Berger and BAJR to give you the low-down on the basics.

Register with HMRC, A question of VAT, Insurance, Charges and more. Don't get fooled or get in a mess.

Guide 36
A guide for Self-employed field archaeologists
Hello Hosty
Thanks for putting the corrections to the guide. It could probably do with a lot more and if anybody sees anything that particularly irks them, try and let us know. There are quite a few changes affecting self employment in the next couple of years and this guide for starting out in self employed archaeology is likely to be pretty redundant in a years or twos time even without any spanners from the forthcoming general election so its probably going to need rewriting which should be seen as an opportunity for improvements.

One of the things that came from researching self employment for this guide is the HMRC studies on the self employed and their grouping of self employed as forming networks to basically pass round tips on tax avoidance. based in studies like these All very anthropological but highlights the assumption that we are tax fiddlers and not anybody primarily employing us. I get the same feeling that I have with cifa that they struggle with their observations on the self employed because they have not clearly defined their level of participation in their observations (archaeology is anthropology). Basically if you are on PAYE how can you want to "understand" self assessment if you haven't given it a go, where as most self employed have given PAYE a go. But what I most take from the HMRC attitude is that archaeology needs a self-employed network to become a recognised group because there ARE specific tips needed for paying the correct tax for things like a visit to Pompeii to undertake an experiment on the effects of drinking Posca, whilst wearing replica Roman sandals, that you will then write up in an archaeological magazine that might be considered legitimate business expenses. Now we could all ask the HMRC individually or we could share round the tips from a single foray to such oracle. So group tips would be nice.

There are also other glaring holes in this guide. I haven't mentioned pensions as I barely ever paid into the one that I had set up so I cant claim any sense of "successfulness" from it. Also I have not tried to answer the question of whether to account for stuff as a service or a product or what to make charges for. I am sure that there are many more topics that could be of use. You could try abusing me through the BAJR notification network. Thanks in advance.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
Good work guys Smile

Pensions are an issue that does need thinking about - even PAYE retierment ages/state pensions are something that future governments might bugger about with - and we have all seen what happens when a private pension fund invests in the stock-market Sad
I did try researching the various types of pensions in archaeology but did not get very far with it. Mine is a small stakeholders pension and basically pointless. Probably stuck on the state pension which I occasionally worry about whether I got any credits for when I was at university. The charity commision accounts show some of the different pensions that some of the big unit workers get and can be informative about what possibly a self employedvarchaeologist should be trying to emulate in pricing up jobs although it can be still difficult to work out what are in pension pots, and what proportion the employers and employees pay into the "pot". The truth is that I see being a member of a council pension pot as a signing away of copyright but that's a personal illness of mine.

At a very basic level it's all about how long you think that you are going to live and when you want to retire and how much you want to retire with. The oxford archaeology accounts show that they work on an assumption that women and men retiring this year at 65 (which I an not sure is the current retirement age) will be expected to live untill 88 and 86 respectively. How much income do you want for roughly twenty years...Unfortunately after that it gets difficult to work out what's in the units pension pots and what the contributions exactly are and then having to divide by the number of employees. The Oxford units pensions are basically local government definded benifits pension schemes with cambridge and oxford county councils and although they register liabilities and employee contributions it's not possible to workout how thats apportioned. Other units might only have their directors on local government pension schemes. At the end of the day the tax payer will make up many short falls in these schemes.

As you say Gnomeking about private investment in stocks. The private sector defined pension schemes for small businesses are normally all based on employer contributions and they are normally considered to be most beneficial to the owner of the business and the first to retire. For some odd reason the Oxford accounts Show the different proportion of investements between the Oxford and Cambridge council schemes and the expected returns as a percentage. I presume that they are proportions decided by council trustees and not the Oxford unit. They include the assumption that the unit will be getting between 7% and 6.8% on equities(not sure if That is adjusted for inflation). It's interesting that their auditors want them to take out an auditors liability Limitation agreement. Not sure what one of those is for, although there does appear to be a lot of figures in brackets in the accounts.

The other thing to remember with pensions is that the government contributes 25% in tax relief but you are liable for tax on drawings...
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist

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