Around IR35 in eighty days

Workr Compliance is an impartial consultancy that provides advice and support on IR35 and the compliant management of a freelance contractor workforce. So, you’ll be right in thinking, what that has to do with a story written in the mid-1800s?

If you’re unfamiliar with the title, Around the World in Eighty Days is an adventure story written by the famous French author, Jules Verne. It was first published in France in 1872 and followed the story of Phileas Fogg, a wealthy, English eccentric from London. Fogg accepts a wager with his friends at the aptly-named Reform Club that he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days.

So what has this got to do with IR35? Well, if your business utilises freelance contractors, you’ve now got less than 80 days before the IR35 legislative reforms take effect in the private sector. And, like Phileas Fogg, who gambled £20,000 (over £2M today), you’ll be taking a substantial financial risk if you fail to prepare appropriately. 

There’s just no way of getting around IR35 — it’s here to stay.

You’ve prepared for the reforms already, haven’t you?

The IR35 reforms were originally due to take effect in April 2020, so many businesses have already taken steps to prepare for the changes. However, there were conflicting and ambiguous views in the lead up to April 2020 with many questioning the strategies implemented by engagers.

Ten months have passed since the original date of the reforms, and the UK has faced the extraordinary challenge of the pandemic since. So, has your plan changed since April 2020? And, how have your business strategies changed in response to the pandemic?

With such considerable costs to the government associated with the pandemic, it seems reasonable to suspect that there will be a focus on all and any legislation relating to tax and tax avoidance.

Engagers and agencies that failed to observe reasonable care guidance or issued mass status determinations or blanket statements will need robust arguments to defend their actions should HMRC investigate. The consequences of not having appropriately prepared could be extremely costly.

Still time to reconsider?

Even though the clock is ticking, there is still time to review in preparation for the reforms.

With the additional pressures caused by the pandemic, engagers must ensure that they minimise their financial risk when the IR35 changes take effect.

Utilising contractors may prove key to completing critical projects, getting strategic objectives back on track or gaining competitive advantage. Those businesses that can demonstrate a fair and objective determination process will most likely stand the best chance of attracting the highest calibre contractors.

For those businesses that may have rushed a process through previously, or relied upon untested software models or off the shelf, vanilla solutions, there is still time to gain peace of mind and confidence that your IR35 plan is the right one for your business.

With the help of some expert guidance, it’s still possible to implement a robust and effective IR35 process that will offer the greatest chance of success with the smallest amount of risk.

Workr Compliance can support you with a quick and effective review of your contractor compliance and process.

With a genuine blend of people, process and technology, we can help develop a solution tailored to your industry requirements. We can help adapt an approach to your business strategies and objectives that is backed by comprehensive insurance and offers genuine and impartial collaboration with all parties in the supply chain.

Unlike Phileas, we’re not prepared to take the gamble.

For further help or advice please contact Andrew Webster, Director, Workr Compliance on 0208 10 60 000

Article by Andy Webster, Workr Compliance, Director

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