Extra extra, read all about it - The Government has launched a review of changes to IR35/off-payroll working rules

5th Feb 2020
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It doesn't happen very often but every once in a blue moon I’m wrong about something. But look, I'm the first to hold my hands up and admit it. Like that time I wore leather pants to the staff day out (big mistake). Or that time I booked paintballing for my grandparents (I don’t know what I was thinking). Well, my hands are held high right now as the Government has actually followed through on their campaign pledge to review the changes made to IR35 or off-payroll working rules.

Yes really! No, I’m not yanking your chain. Here I was, convinced that the impending exit from the EU would overshadow any pledge that was made last year but no no, Sajid Javid has actually come through on this on the promise he made in November of last year and I am over the moon.

Why was a review needed in the first place? Well, you can read more about this in a previous post of mine here, but for the kids who have just joined the class, the IR35, or off-payroll working rules were implemented to make sure that independent contractors who were employed by companies were paying the correct tax and NIC contributions. There were loopholes that meant people could get away with paying less tax by saying they were independent contractors when in fact they were more employees and you better believe that they took full advantage of this. Hence the reforms were introduced.

The reforms were designed to tackle non-compliance with off-payroll working rules by making medium and large organisations in the private and third sectors responsible for declaring the status of contractors. But this was problematic. Why? Because people are naturally the friggin’ worst. However, the “reforms” got out of control and were being used to target actual contractors who were tax-compliant all along by making it harder to differentiate a dodger from an upstanding member of society. 

Thus the review on these reforms is very much welcome! The review will focus on the implementation of the reforms which are due to come into effect on the 6th of April 2020. So how will they do this?

  • A separate review is being launched that will explore how the government can better support the self-employed.
  • The tax system will be made easier to navigate and access to finance and credit will be improved.
  • Broadband will be improved to see how this can boost homeworking.
  • HMRC will prepare the public for April 2020 by engaging in webinars and workshops.
  • By engaging in targeted communications and support for customers.

The review, which will conclude sometime in mid-February, will also engage with the businesses and individuals who have been adversely affected by the implementation of the reforms. It will do this by holding a series of roundtable meetings with stakeholders representing those affected so as to better understand how the government can ensure a smooth transition and implementation of the reforms and not royally hack off the law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

On top of this the government will also carry out “further internal analysis including evaluation of the enhanced Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool and public sector bodies’ experience of implementing the reforms to the off-payroll working rules in 2017” - Gov.uk

So there you have it! You have spoken and the Government has listened. I know! I don't believe it either! I’ve already pinched myself and we are definitely not dreaming. Make sure you don’t walk under any ladders or break any mirrors; we can’t afford to lose any of this good luck right now!

I’ll see you back here in a couple of weeks for the results of the review! I’m off to play the Lottery.

Aoibheann Byrne

Written by Aoibheann Byrne

BrightPay Payroll Software