Re: Lesson to learn : beware of free
As a Yank, I find these arrangements quite odd. Here is the US there are 2 situations for an IT contractor.
1. You work for an employment service who farms you out to a business. You are effectively an employee of the employment service, and no, you do not have to pay them for this. They make their money from the client business. Charging X% above what they are paying you. Any employment service that asks you to pay them to find you work should be avoided at all cost as they are most likely quite unscrupulous.
2. You are hired on as what we call an "Independent Contractor" either through a service company or by yourself. In this scenario you, the contractor, are responsible for paying your own taxes and Social Security (payroll tax) which includes both the employee 7.5% + the employer 7.5%. It can be quite a burden so you have to make sure you are getting paid enough to cover these expenses. The one upside is that any expenses you encounter related to your work at tax deductible. Do contractors get into trouble for non-payment? For sure they do, but that falls solely on them.