IR35 rethink key for Government to win trust of contractors in 2018….
The Government must rethink its approach to IR35 and the impact it currently has on the UK’s 2 million independent workers if it has any hopes of winning back the waning support of contractors in 2018, Qdos Contractor of The Qdos Group has highlighted.
Past research carried out by the contractor tax specialist outlined the clear lack of trust independent workers currently have in Government, following controversial recent and predicted IR35 changes.
95% believe the Government is reducing the benefits of self-employment
97% do not believe the Government has their best interests at heart
63% have called on the Government to prioritise building a fairer tax system
Qdos Contractor CEO, Seb Maley, has urged the Government to review IR35 in 2018 – a move which would outline its commitment to contractors.
“To repair its fractured relationship with independent workers in 2018, the Government must begin building a tax system that genuinely works for those brave enough to strike out alone. And more specifically, it must rethink its current position on IR35.”
The areas of focus include:
Approaching IR35 consultation with an open mind
“The Government has promised to consult on recent and potential IR35 reform in 2018, but it’s imperative for them to do so with an open mind and to honestly assess how this legislation currently affects contractors.
“The Government must actually consult with UK businesses and the contracting community before any further reform is announced. An open dialogue with the people that IR35 reform impacts is essential, while ruling out further changes entirely would go some way to convincing contractors that this Government is a supportive one.”
HMRC must take a considered approach to IR35 investigations
“Late last year HMRC began policing newly enforced rules in the public sector. While we are yet to hear of a formal IR35 investigation, we cannot stress how important it is that HMRC approach any enquiry in 2018 objectively and assess the facts of the working arrangement in question. Despite reform, the rules around IR35 have not changed.”
“In addition to this, the process of any IR35 investigation remains relatively unknown. While we don’t expect HMRC to reveal a detailed strategy, contractors would take confidence if they knew case law was the foundation for any argument.”
Highlight importance of NHS making well-informed IR35 determinations
“Soon after public sector reform was introduced last year, The NHS made a blanket determination and placed its entire contract and locum workforce inside IR35. This initial stance has since been reversed, but we understand numbers of contractors are yet have their working arrangement reviewed individually.
“The Government must stress the importance of case-by-case IR35 assessments, particularly if it wants The NHS to continue attracting the thousands of locum and contract workers that it so clearly relies on.”
Review CEST – the tool built to make IR35 determinations
“CEST has produced a number of inaccurate IR35 decisions since its release last year. The Government must prioritise a review of the tool’s effectiveness, because it is clearly flawed. The worry is that this tool had been used some 450,000 times between April and October of last year. But how many of these determinations would actually stand up in court?”
Assess the relationship between tax status and employment rights
“The Government seems set on reducing the tax advantages of working self-employed. Despite independent workers insisting they would prefer to work without employment rights, the Government must then revisit the relationship between tax status and employment privileges in 2018.
“It’s only fair that independent workers are at least offered certain rights, particularly if they are made to effectively pay the same taxes as an employee should they be working under IR35.”
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