The Growth Plan: repeal of off-payroll working (IR35) reforms

From 6 April 2023, the Government plans to repeal the changes to the off-payroll working tax rules (also known as IR35), which were introduced for public sector bodies in 2017 and for large private sector businesses in 2021. As a result, contractors and consultants who provide their services through an intermediary, such as a personal service company, will again be solely responsible for assessing their own employment status and paying PAYE income tax and NIC if required under the off-payroll working rules, rather than the end users of their services.

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Graeme Standen
Published: 23 Sept 2022 Updated: 23 Sept 2022

While undoubtedly this will be welcomed both by contractors and consultants who operate in this way and by those businesses which make significant use of their services:

  • Many businesses will have already got to grips with the 2021 IR35 reforms, or with the consequences of their temporary non-compliance with them; and
  • Some may be doing so currently and will need to carry on with this, given that the repeal will not take effect until 6 April 2023

These businesses may be somewhat vexed about the time and cost they have already invested in compliance with such short-lived reforms, and the need to now revisit the impacts of this latest change on their future plans for using contractors’ services versus employees’ services.

Cases on employment status, which includes the IR35 rules, have also been part of a stream of recent tax and employment law court cases, as the judiciary has been invited to grapple with the concepts of what constitutes employment as opposed to the provision of services.  These changes do not tackle the complexities that have arisen out of these issues and that position is not changed by these reforms. These reforms represent a change to who, practically speaking has to make the decisions on employment status for IR35 purposes on a day-to-day basis, rather than simplifying that process. We hope the Government will take the opportunity to take that extra step in the near future.