Our commitment to your privacy

Our commitment to your privacy

There are some changes to data protection law, so we wanted you to know that we’ve updated our Privacy Policy.

Your trust is important to us and we want to make sure you understand what these changes mean for you.

So, if you’d like to find out more, take a look at our Privacy Policy or visit our website at any time.

If you wish to stop receiving our monthly newswire, please click the Unsubscribe link at the top of this newswire.

Previously overlooked Tribunal case proves HMRC isn’t always right when it comes to IR35

A previously-overlooked Tribunal decision involving a company that successfully challenged the IR35 status of a number of it’s contracts once again demonstrates that HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) ‘narrow’ classification procedures are not always right when it comes to the intricacies of IR35 and Mutuality of Obligation (MOO).

The case of Armitage Technical Design Services Ltd (ATDSL) v HMRC first drew to a close back in November 2016, but has only very recently came to light, due to the fact the Tribunal’s decision was issued orally and no written findings were initially provided.

The matter involved Mr Armitage’s efforts to appeal HMRC’s initial finding that ATDSL’s contracts with a company known as Diamond Light Source Ltd (DLS) during 2009/10 and 2013/14 were all within IR35.

Examining the case, the Tribunal found that the contracts in question contained right of substitution clauses, which Mr Armitage was aware of but said had never been exercised.

It also considered that DLS had engaged ATDSL’s services due to the fact that it was having trouble sourcing appropriate expertise in-house to tackle the work that needed to be done.

As a result of this, the Tribunal found that the right of substitution was more ‘theoretical’ than ‘practical’ over the course of their working relationship.

Furthermore, in terms of the classic issue of ‘control’, it found that DLS had very little control over the ways in which ATDSL delivered its services. Due to this, the Tribunal noted that DLS was by no means “the master” of ATDSL.

In terms of MOO, the Tribunal noted that it was clear that one party had agreed to work for the other in return for payment. However, it was not satisfied with HMRC’s ‘narrow’ view of MOO and indicated that the case at hand featured more indicators of a ‘contract for self-employment services’ than of an ‘employment service’ in this particular case.

As has previously been evidenced by the likes of HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool, the case demonstrates that HMRC’s ‘narrow’ view of the complex issues surrounding IR35 will not always result in the correct IR35 classification.

Contractors should not be deemed ‘guilty until proven innocent’

As an extension of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) controversial new off-payroll rules into the private sector begins to look increasingly likely, a number of contracting bodies have spoken out against the proposed reforms.

Under existing proposals, HMRC intends to extend the new IR35 rules to the private sector in order to make businesses responsible for assessing the status of their personal service company (PSC) contractors and ensure that such contractors have been classified in the correct way.

HMRC has not yet indicated when the new rules could come into force, but most commentators suspect that it is aiming for April 2020.

Ever since the Government published a consultation document into the matter, however, a number of contractor bodies have spoken out against the proposals amid concerns that there were “several teething” problems with the implementation of very similar rules in the public sector back in April 2017.

Groups such as the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) have warned that the proposed extension of the rules to the private sector could ‘strangle’ the living standards of many contracting professionals, for example.

Meanwhile, other commentators have suggested that HMRC has already proven that it is ‘incapable’ of policing such reforms, as evidenced by it’s much-criticised Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool and a number of Tribunal challenges which have emerged in recent months.

On top of this, concerns have been raised by experts that it is simply unjust for the Revenue to manipulate IR35 legislation in such a way that contractors are effectively ‘considered guilty until proven innocent’ in terms of the ‘blanket approaches’ many public sector hirers have been incentivised to take towards IR35.

Among commentators, the general consensus appears to be that the controversial new IR35 rules prevent contractors from being able to secure a fair assessment, with complicated ‘deemed provision’ rules and blanket assessments increasingly placing them within IR35.

Freelance sector growing steadily year-on-year, report reveals

The desire to work flexibly is increasingly taking workers out of the office to become their own boss, a new study has revealed.

Instant Offices, which published the report, said the freelance sector is growing year-after-year, thanks to major changes in the ways Britons like to work.

The latest figures show that some 4.8 million Brits now classify themselves as ‘self-employed’, with around 42 per cent of those currently in a freelancing role. This makes up around six per cent of the working population.

The key take away from the study is how young women are changing their views on motherhood and working. The traditional ‘stay at home’ mum is on the way out, according to the study, with the number of female freelancers growing by 55 per cent since 2008.

Likewise, new mothers are increasingly choosing to go into the line of freelancing, with numbers rising by 79 per cent over a similar period.

Age in general is playing a key role in driving those figures up, with the number of adults born in the 80s and 90s choosing to freelance rising by 66 per cent since 2008.

Kayte Jenkin, of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), added that growth in the freelance economy has begun outperforming traditional self-employed businesses.

“Freelancer-owned businesses might be expected to generate greater revenues than other own account businesses, owing to the more valuable knowledge and skills exercised, suggesting a slightly higher turnover figure, perhaps £130-135 billion, approximately three to four per cent of business turnover,” she said.

Contractors have greater flexibility to enjoy the World Cup

The World Cup is now finally upon us, after the first match between Russia and Saudi Arabia officially kicked-off on Thursday 14 June.

Britain is a nation of football-lovers, so it makes complete sense that it’s people will want to enjoy the World Cup as much as they can. This is particularly true this time around, with the England team looking strong and some bookies estimating that we have a 71 per cent chance of reaching the knock-out rounds.

Each year, however, employees all across the country find themselves at loggerheads with their managers and bosses, as staff rush to book time off to watch the biggest games and fans whose holiday requests are shunned are forced to check scores on the sly whenever their bosses are looking the other way – perhaps even running the risk of facing disciplinary action.

Fortunately, contractors and freelancers will face none of the above problems this summer, due to the greater flexibility that self-employment provides.

Contractors can choose their own hours, take leave whenever it suits them and even schedule their workloads around ‘the beautiful game’ as much as they like.

These reasons – among many others – are why an ever-increasing number of Britons are opting to ‘be their own boss’ by taking advantage of the many fantastic opportunities working for themselves can bring.

For example, on top of the greater freedom contracting can offer, recent research suggests that the average contractor takes home approximately £5,414 more per year than the average traditional employee.

And finally…

As the old saying goes, unseasoned travellers often feel inclined to take absolutely everything with them on holiday, ‘even the kitchen sink’.

But when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stepped off the plane in Singapore to meet US President Donald Trump earlier this month, he had a very different household item in tow.

According to Sky News, the North Korean dictator’s transport plane was packed full of food, supplies and even a bulletproof limousine. But Kim also felt inclined to bring along a much more personal item to the Singapore summit – his very own portable toilet.

Reports suggest that the instantly-recognisable world leader came equipped with a portable device designed to “deny determined sewer-divers insights into the supreme leader’s stools” during his time spent away from North Korean soil.

According to The Sun, the portable latrine was one of many measures taken by Kim and his bodyguards to ensure utmost security, for fear that spies might analyse his stools in an effort to check-up on his health.