Despite much opposition, a year's delay due to the Covid pandemic and some parties expressing fears for the future of the contracting sector, the new rules came into force. This means that medium and large businesses have become responsible for determining the IR35 status of contractors they engage, with the fee paying party now carrying the risk for incorrect assessments.
The changes resemble those enforced in the public sector in 2017, which saw all public sector organisations tasked with assessing IR35 status. HMRC's online assessment tool, CEST, has been subject to considerable criticism for inaccurate status assessments, and many organisations have been warned off making 'blanket' decisions by contractor groups
IR35 specialist, Qdos, described the introduction of these measures as a ‘historic moment’ for the UK’s independent workforce but one that this ‘resilient’ sector can overcome and will not lead to the end of contracting.
Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, said: “The introduction of IR35 reform is a historic moment. It marks the culmination of years of the Government chipping away at contractors, who have shown tremendous resilience and a determination to continue working this way. But while reform poses challenges to contractors and the businesses who rely on them, I am confident that contracting will survive.
“In recent months the tide has turned, with thousands of businesses now aware of the fact that IR35 reform is manageable. These firms, who have prioritised compliant IR35 status decisions and will continue engaging contractors, are set to gain a huge advantage over those who have banned contractors because of the changes - a short-sighted and totally needless decision.
“Despite IR35 reform and the problems the changes create, I am optimistic about the future of contracting. The economic climate, the changing makeup of the workforce and the growing demand for flexible, skilled and cost efficient workers suggest contracting is here to stay in spite of these changes.”
Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including the controversial IR35 reforms see Shout99's News on IR35 section.
For IR35 insurance policies and representation in the event of disputes, see Qdos' website
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2021