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HMRC updates its status 'CEST' tool
by Susie Hughes at 13:48 10/10/23 (News on IR35)
HMRC has given its much criticised online status assessment tool, CEST, an update with a low-key launch.
HMRC said that it has successfully moved the CEST tool to a new platform at the beginning of October.

HMRC explained that:

  • CEST has migrated to HMRC's OCELOT platform, which is where the Department's digital guidance is held, enabling them to embed guidance links directly into the tool.
  • The logic of CEST will remain the same and will provide customers with the same outputs as before, but moving to OCELOT will - according to HMRC - 'greatly improve usability and the customer journey.' An example of this is, on the old system customers would have to leave CEST and seek out the appropriate guidance they need themselves. Now being able to embed links to key guidance into the tool will remove this process, making it easier for customers to find the information they’re looking for when they need it.
  • Customers will be able to review their answers after each section rather than at the end of the CEST journey, which - HMRC says - will help them review their answers and, if necessary, 'access guidance at the earliest opportunity in their journey, helping them to provide accurate answers and reduce the risk of receiving an Unable to Determine outcome'.
  • The CEST output will tell the customer the conclusion CEST has reached from the answers they have provided for each question section, which "will help the customer understand why they have received a particular CEST output"

An HMRC spokesman told Shout99: "We are in regular contact with our stakeholders, however the move was completed as part of an initial soft launch. We are aware that some links aren’t appearing as expected and are working to get these fixed as soon as possible, but we believe that moving CEST to the new platform will ultimately benefit those who use it."

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