Well, this has all escalated quite quickly, hasn’t it? Yikes! We are truly living in unprecedented times, perhaps the single biggest challenge we will have to face in a generation. But while the news has been quite alarming and the doomsday prophets are out in force, there are a few rays of light in the darkness of the current climate.
Besides people singing from their balconies, mass exercise sessions and communities coming together to look after their vulnerable, another good bit of news to come out yesterday was that the IR35 reforms are being put on hold until April 6th 2021 as part of the measures to deal with the coronavirus. To all the people out there for who the upcoming reforms were a genuine concern, this is definitely something to be singing about!
I’ll admit, while this does little in the overall bigger picture, it does mean losing sleep over one less thing (even if it has been replaced by another!). Medium to large sized enterprises can now use this extra time wisely to fully prepare themselves for the reforms that are now due in 2021. Given that the UK seems to be set for a hell of an economical rollercoaster, it is only right that the controversial IR35 tax reforms are being put on hold. It’s a good thing for businesses and contractors alike and many feel that it shouldn't have taken a global pandemic for the government to realise how damaging the reforms were set to be.
Many businesses are also angry at the vast amount of resources - money, time and energy - that have been put into preparing for these changes, but this anger has definitely been deafened by the louder sighs of relief from the contractors who may now escape the butcher’s block aka the blanket bans being carried out by large companies such as Barclays, Lloyds and GSK to name but a few. And while it is true that the blanket ban has been disastrous, this new development means clients can now return to contractors who they will desperately need during these trying times.
In fact, this could be the age of the freelancers, the self-employed, the flexible workers! Those who are accustomed to working from home and on their own terms and not bound by the confines of a 9-5. I bet they’ll be laughing at us as we slowly descend into social distance related madness between the four walls of our own home.
Needless to say, it’s been a hell of a ride with our ol’ pal IR35 but we bid it farewell until next year when hopefully, like us all, it will be better, much improved and ready for business.