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IR35 Self Employed

IR35: What does it mean for self-employed workers?

Authored by Lisa Hogg

Lisa Hogg

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Approximate read time: 2 minutes

Starting April 2020, IR35 will apply to the private sector, and HMRC will start auditing self-employed contractors operating out of limited companies, with the aim to help determine whether they’re paying their share of tax.

In light of COVID-19, HMRC has postponed the IR35 reforms until April 6th 2021.

What is IR35?

IR35 is a piece of legislation introduced in 2000, aimed at cutting down the number of self-employed contractors operating out of ‘personal limited companies’ for a single client, and their relationship is more akin to employer and employee. Using a limited company structure; contractors may pay less tax than if they were employed on the company’s payroll.

What has changed?

Though the legislation has been around for 20 years, IR35 became a talking point in 2017 when it was introduced to public sector workers. Three years later, and the legislation is to be enforced on the private sector, meaning those self-employed workers operating using these ‘personal limited companies’ could face higher tax bills.

How does IR35 affect contractors?

HMRC is set to start conducting audits to determine whether contractors operating through limited companies are ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35. If deemed inside IR35, you’re considered an employee, and you’ll have to make National Insurance Contributions and pay Income Tax.

If you’re a contractor, and these recent changes have made it unsuitable to continue operating out of a limited company, we offer several options to help you close the company in an orderly manner.

What about sole traders?

If you work for a client as a sole trader, IR35 shouldn’t affect you as it’s targeted towards contractors operating out of limited companies.

We are not tax advisors. For more specific and tailored advice, you should speak to an independent tax advisor.

In summary

The upcoming implementation of IR35 on the private sector could have serious implications for contractors operating out of personal limited companies. Depending on the terms of their contract, these people could be considered employed by the company under the reformed legislation and made to pay more tax.

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