Further evidence that IR35 will go ahead

With the recent replacement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer some may be hoping that the new incumbent, Rishi Sunak, may think again when it comes to imposition of the IR35 rules. However in a recent speech, Mr. Sunak is reported to have said that there may be some tweaks to be announced before the budget on March 11th but that in any event HMRC will not be heavy handed for the first year after its imposition.

With a straight trajectory to imposition on 6th April there is little hope left for change despite consistent complaints and warnings from the contractor sector. Agencies and hirers will be obliged to accept the new tax regime with its responsibilities for tax payment and accompanying regulatory consequences.

From our information many agencies are hoping for some way out, whether that is adjusting wording of work descriptions to schedules of work, hiring in third party reviews or engaging with umbrella companies. Each has its problems and in the centre of it all are the Agency Conduct Regulations and the Agency Workers Regulations both of which are likely to play a much larger part as contractors cease to benefit from company tax reliefs and the risk level of worker related complaints rise. For example, the company opt out may become a necessary victim, resulting in a need for more stringent compliance in a number of areas. It is critical that agencies and hirers recognise the issues and risks from a wholly independent source.

Lawspeed, the UK’s leading recruitment law specialist, is holding a seminar to provide a strategic overview of IR35 and its practical ramifications, on 26th February. Says Adrian Marlowe, director of Lawspeed “Agencies used to providing contractor supply will need new forms of contract and new processes taking into account the likely regulations and challenges that will apply to PAYE or umbrella workers. The same will apply to hirers as the type of engagement changes. Drawing on our experience of IR35, different kinds of contract and all the worker related rules over two decades, we will be covering this topic at the seminar. We are also available for assistance to any hirer or agency wishing to review arrangements and operational options.”

For more information call Lawspeed on 01273 236236.

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