Minutes of the latest IR35 Forum meeting show the key points of a review of the work of the Contract Review Service (CRS) shows that:
- the contract reviews can be very valuable, but they are not being used enough;
- more needs to be done to publicise the confidentiality of the service; and
- HMRC should consider relaxing the rules, i.e. giving opinions on unsigned contracts, albeit with more caveats.
There have been concerns that not enough customers trusted the CRS and it was suggested that HMRC needs to do more to counter this, HMRC asked for the Forum's help indoing so as it was felt that it was 'almost impossible' for HMRC to encourage trust without the active help of partners like those in the IR35 Forum.
It was suggested that one way of doing this was to make it clear in the new gudiance that making a disclosure is separate to the CRS and compliance teams. Those wanting to make a disclosure should call the IR35 helpline and ask who they should majke their disclosure too. The IR35 helpline is able to advise them.
During the meeting, it was asked if it would possible to assess individuals as a whole rather than contact by contact. However, HMRC explained that the legislation requires a contract by contract assessment but the recommended changes from the review would allow advisors to provide guidance even when they cannot give an opinion with a three year a guarantee.
In the past there has been criticism of the service as HMRC used its own personnel, even though they have been at pains to stress the independence of these individuals.
The Forum discussed using external advisors to build more trust for HMRC. it was reported that several tax investigation insurances prevents access to the CRS andit was felt that working with external advisors might begin to change this.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014