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Freelancers stop contracting due to IR35 changes
by Susie Hughes at 16:09 12/02/20 (News on IR35)
Nearly a third of freelancers are planning to stop contracting in the UK because the changes to IR35 due in the private sector in April, according to research by freelancer group IPSE.
One in seven freelancers plan to find contracts abroad, one in ten plan to stop working or retire early and almost one in ten plan to move into employment. Half of freelancers also said they will only continue freelancing if they can find contracts to which the new off-payroll working rules do not apply.

Almost all (97 per cent) freelancers said they are either 'fairly' or 'very' concerned about the changes to IR35. Nine out of ten also said they think that working inside IR35 and paying employee National Insurance Contributions without employee rights is unfair.

Blanket assessments
In terms of client businesses, two out of five of freelancers said their clients will stop using outside-IR35 contractors. Instead, they will either make blanket-assessments that their contractors are all “inside IR35” (20 per cent), engage them through umbrella companies (14 per cent), move their contractors onto PAYE (13 per cent), or stop engaging contractors altogether (11 per cent).

However, 35 per cent of freelancers also said their clients are uncertain what to do or have not said what they will do about the changes to IR35.

Andy Chamberlain from IPSE, said: “This survey shows that the changes to IR35 are a clear and imminent danger to the self-employed sector and the businesses they work with right across the UK.

“Two out of five freelancers say their clients are not planning to continue using outside-IR35 contractors and many have already begun laying off their contractor workforce. It is unsurprising, therefore, that almost all freelancers say they are worried about these changes.

“Nearly a third of freelancers have said they plan to stop contracting in the UK – and many more are likely to follow if they can’t find contracts that aren’t affected by the changes. We need to be clear: this will do enormous damage to this £305bn-a-year sector, which will have disastrous consequences for the wider economy.

“Businesses and contractors are simply not ready for the ill-planned and hugely disruptive changes to IR35. Many businesses have not even decided how to respond yet – and many more are planning to break the rules of the legislation by assessing all their contractors as “inside IR35”.

“The Government must urgently delay the changes while a full and independent review is carried out. If it pushes ahead regardless, it will do untold damage to freelancers, the businesses that rely on them and the wider economy.”

Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including the controversial IR35 reforms see Shout99's News on IR35 section.

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2020

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