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Calling all IT contractors: HMRC wants your IR35 feedback

IT contractors, your time is now: the taxman wants your feedback on the IR35 system that went into effect last year.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs issued the invitation to IT contractors at the most recent IR35 Forum, there the tax authority called for the opinions of those most closely affected by the changes. It’s obvious that HMRC has read the writing on the wall very closely, and if you ask me it’s about damned time that the taxman has woken up to smell the roses – especially when you think about how absolutely horrid the response to the new IR35 guidance has been for quite literally more than a year now.

However, what I don’t understand is why it took HMRC so blasted long for it to finally come forward and admit that maybe – just maybe – it might have made a terrible mistake in doing what it did in the May of 2012. Back then, the taxman completely flummoxed the self-employed by coming forward with new IR35 guidance that made an absolute mess of things, especially since the disguised employment legislation didn’t change in any way; instead, HMRC over-complicated the guidance to the point where individuals that were previously low-risk for consideration of an IR35 violation were suddenly on the taxman’s radar.

Far be it for me to make the kind of blind, baseless accusations that you would most often read at a conspiracy theorist blog, but doesn’t it seem just a bit odd that last year was when the Government began its big push towards stamping out tax avoidance and that this new guidance just happened to be launched at the same time? A paranoid man – one with his tinfoil hat carefully fitted to his head – would say that it’s no accident, nor is it a coincidence; instead he would say that it was a blatant plot at the part of Government ministers to bring in more tax revenue.

Of course that would be mad. Who in their right minds would believe that, let alone actually think such a convoluted scheme would actually work? Not me, for one; I’m convinced that it’s incompetence behind the IR35 problems facing IT contractors right now and not due to any far-reaching conspiracy to double down on tax revenues. Then again it’s not terribly far-fetched when you think about it, is it? Makes you wonder.

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