New IR35 rules for public sector contractors

March 2017

From 6th April, public sector organisations and agencies will be responsible for collecting PAYE from any contractors who use an intermediary and are affected by revised IR35 rules.

Recent research carried out by Qdos Contractor found that 85% of public sector contractors would leave their roles if they were caught inside IR35 after 6th April. Qdos’ research also revealed that most of the 2,000 UK contractors surveyed believe that Government departments will bear the brunt of this potential departure.

What is IR35?

IR35 is anti-avoidance tax legislation designed to tax people who put their contracts through a Personal Service Company (PSC), at a similar rate to those in regular employment.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) considers the use of PSCs as "disguised employment" and, having had limited legal success challenging this type of contractor using the previous IR35 rules, it is introducing the revised legislation.

What will change?

The new IR35 rules will come into effect from April 2017, but will initially only apply to the public sector and those contractors working through PSCs providing services to it.

Key changes

Options to consider

Not all the below options will necessarily be available and the contractor will need to consult with their agency or public sector body to see what options are available. These include:

 


Call us today on 0800 0523 555 or submit an online enquiry here to arrange an appointment with your local TaxAssist Accountant.

 

Is working through a limited company inside IR35 still beneficial?

There are still instances where using a PSC is beneficial:

Employment status

HMRC has created a tool to determine if the IR35 rules apply to an engagement. The tool was released on 2nd March and can be found by clicking here.

Contract review

If an agency or public sector body takes a sensible approach to the rules and the contractor is genuinely trading outside IR35, they should be able to continue operating as usual.

However, if the agency has asked if the rules should apply to your company, TaxAssist Accountants can put you in touch with service providers, who will be able to give an expert opinion on your circumstances.

Payment

The new IR35 rules apply to payments made on or after 6th April, so will include any prior work delivered but not yet paid for. The UK’s contractor trade group, The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has warned public sector contractors to seek payment due before 5th April.

We would advise a contractor to urgently discuss this with their public sector client and seek assurances that relevant payments will be paid before the new rules take effect.

Next steps

There remains some uncertainty as to how the new rules will work in practice and how public sector bodies will respond. We would advise to avoid making any rash decisions.

If you require further information or think you are going to affected by the revised IR35 rules, contact your local TaxAssist Accountant, on 0800 0523 555 to arrange a free, no obligation meeting to discuss the available options. Alternatively, submit an online enquiry here.