The proposed changes to employers' National Insurance Contributions - which will allow employers to stop paying national insurance for many actors, musicians and other performers - will be a boon to showbiz producers, says accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.
According to UHY, the decision followed lobbying from the industry to change rules on performers’ employment status after the ITV Services Case. In this case the broadcaster failed to have its ‘key talent’ contracts, which secured exclusive rights to a performer over a certain period, exempted from employers’ NIC.
Sheila Berry, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said, “Removing the almost 14% of employers’ national insurance contribution could help producers to fund more, and bigger, productions with larger casts, giving a significant boost to the industry. It will also reduce a lot of the uncertainty faced by production companies in this area.”
The new rules will come into force from 6 April 2014, reversing a previous decision to treat self-employed entertainers as employed for national insurance purposes when they are paid a salary or by an hourly or weekly rate by a producer.
However, UHY Hacker Young has also warned that low earning performers could be hit by the changes.
Berry added, “For low earning actors and musicians, especially those who are building up their CVs by working for free in fringe productions, making them less available for non-performing work, the changes could have a negative impact.”
“When they are lucky enough to be in paid performing work, there will be less going into their national insurance pot. That means that when times are really lean the level of support they will be eligible for may be reduced.”