IR35 – Where Are We Now?

IR35 – Where Are We Now?

It’s been one helluva summer at Acumenica Towers trying to keep abreast of all the changes and prepare for April 2020. There’s been a lot of talk, we’ve had meetings with MPs, there’s been questions asked in parliament and there’s been a constant churn of conjecture and speculation from the Rumour Mill.

But the truth is, we don’t know where we are yet. The end clients hold the cards and they’re tight against their chest at the minute. Until they start showing them, we – that’s Acumenica, our clients, and the wider contracting community – must exist in a kind of limbo.

It’s important to remember that the legislation isn’t changing and, at least in theory, someone who can at the moment accurately be deemed an independent contractor should still be able to be a contractor after April 2020. The only change is that the person responsible for determining the status of the contractor is moving from the contractor himself to the engager (end client). The obvious and very real fear is that the big banks and financial institutions will take a risk averse view and deem all contractors inside-IR35. This is what is being known as a “blanket approach” or a “blanket ruling.” So, what we are able to advise depends very much on what position your end client takes:

  • If the client blanket rules everyone inside IR35, then there’s little we can do other than try to mitigate the losses: you can either wind up the company, or continue on an inside basis with all of the tax and none of the benefits of independent contractor status, or you can potentially move to a staff position.
  • If the client indicates that they will be looking at each contractor engagement on a case-by-case basis, then we are in a much better position to influence the outcome. Then it becomes very much a play on how you position yourself. This is where you need to define working practices, terms of engagement, removal of “part and parcel” style arrangements etc.

This is an ever-changing landscape so please, please keep coming back here, the advice tomorrow could be very different from the advice today.