REC urges government to publish final IR35 changes by October

(3 minutes to read)

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) is urging the government to commit to publishing the final IR35 legislation by October, giving businesses six months to prepare fully.

The new IR35 rules for contractors working in the private sector will come into force in April 2020 – just a year from now.

According to the REC, candidate shortages for permanent roles means that the use of contractors provides UK employers with a crucial outlet and a means of gaining the right skills and expertise quickly.

The REC believes recruiters should not bear responsibility for their client’s decision on who falls into IR35 status and wants HMRC to support recruiters in determining who is eligible to pay IR35 tax.

A new survey of REC members’ readiness for IR35 changes indicates:

– 91% said their clients have only some or no awareness of the changes coming into effect.

– More than nine in ten respondents believe that making clients liable for their worker supply chains would improve, at least to some extent, accuracy on IR35 determination.

– 30% have no confidence in the ability of the government’s CEST tool which is used to make accurate IR35 determinations.

– 69% of respondents said that the requirement of all parties to pass along IR35 determinations is a concern.

REC Director of Policy and Campaigns, Tom Hadley said, “Contractors and interim managers play an essential role within our economy – especially in periods of transition and uncertainty. The planned changes to taxation which are due to come into effect a year from now could significantly impede labour market agility at a time when UK businesses need it most.

“I am pleased that the Chancellor responded promptly to a recent letter from the REC detailing our concerns about where liability lies within the recruitment supply chain when determining IR35 status, and about how the small company exemption would work in practice. We also urge HMRC to improve the CEST tool for checking status to give employers and recruiters a fair chance of implementing the charges effectively, with a recent survey of members saying that a third had no confidence in the tool.

“Everyone should pay the right level of tax but what our members want is clarity and a level playing field. We will continue to work with the government to find solutions and ensure that we do not jeopardise the substantial benefits that contracting brings to the UK economy.”

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