Just two weeks ahead of the Budget, the government has released the findings of its IR35 review and confirmed that the reforms will go ahead on 6 April as planned.
From 6 April, fee payments made in respect of contractors who provide their services through intermediaries, such as personal service companies (PSCs), may be affected. Some larger firms have already been making ‘blanket’ determinations on contractor status so that payments made with have PAYE and NIC deducted. The change of status will not, however, automatically confer employment rights.
Despite calls to delay implementing the changes for a year, or to at least consider making some major adjustments to the legislation, the month-long review has clarified some minor issues and confirms that offshore companies with no UK presence will be exempted from the changes. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, appears to have wrung some concessions from HMRC:
There are additional requirements for client companies to respond to information requests from agencies or workers and clarification on the process for status disagreements. HMRC has also committed to continuing its dedicated team and communications to contractors and large and medium employers affected. It has also published a guide for contractors and those working through agencies to help them avoid using non-compliant working arrangements.
With the changes only just over a month away, the publication of the report has done little to allay concerns on the disruptive and detrimental effects of the reforms for business and contractors alike. There are still some detailed questions to be answered and, as firms review their policies and projects, there are fears from many contractors that they will be left without work.
We are currently working with clients on both sides of this equation.
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