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Industry body wants more info from Government on IR35

Fed up with having to comb through arcane documents, one contracting trade industry body has designs to ask the Government for clearer IR35 information.

The Professional Contractors’ Guild is kicking around the possibility of requesting a judicial review of how the IR35 status of some of their contractor members have een handled by selected government departments after suspicions have been raised that there could be some ‘unlawful behaviour’ going on when it comes to what these departments have been doing – in other words, there could be some naughty business going on when it comes to the hoops a contractor has to go through in proving they aren’t a disguised employee for the purposes of HM Revenue & Customs.Members of the association have been invited to share their own stories as evidence of what PCG believes is unlawful behaviour.

PCG urged every single member to go ahead and have an independent review carried out on the contract of anyone who was currently doing work for the public sector after government regulations changed to shift the burden of proof for satisfying IR35 on to contract workers. The independent review has been enough to satisfy the majority of departments in the UK government, but reports have been trickling in where not every single department is accepting these assessments.

I’m not going to name names, but more than one department has completely disregarded any independent assessment, instead claiming that the only body that can carry out any sort of valid evaluation would be HMRC. Other departments have allegedly been pressurising contractors to either join an umbrella company or even to jump through IR35 hoops even in instances where the contractor is certain that there’s no way the disguised employment rules would apply to them. Some departments have refused to accept the assessments as valid, many of which have insisted that HMRC is the only body that can carry out the evaluation. Still others have even sought to push contractors into joining an umbrella company, but some have tried to force independent workers to operate IR35 even if they do not believe it applies to them.

Well, PCG has had enough of these types of shenanigans, and I can’t say that I blame the industry body one bit. The zeal that government departments have been engaging in with an eye to stamping out all instances of tax avoidance, which includes IR35 violations, is approaching the levels of the Spanish Inquisition, and I for one am tired of having to hear about these witch hunts that the Government is engaging in, just so they can eke a few more pounds from the nation’s contractors; why don’t they start squeezing multinationals like Starbucks or Amazon instead? Everyone knows that’s where the money is!

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