A leading contractor campaign group has called on the new Conservative Government to honour its pre-election pledge to review the IR35 rules, and postpone the planned April 2020 ‘off payroll’ private sector rollout in the meantime.
In the run-up to the General Election, all of the major parties promised to ‘review IR35’ – the SNP and Liberal Democrats included this intention in their manifestos, while Labour and the Conservatives did so via radio interviews – as pressure from the contracting community increased significantly before election day.
A Twitter poll carried out just after 10 pm on December 12th showed that a significant number of contractors chose to support the Lib Dems rather than the main parties, and were not swayed by these ‘promises’ from the larger parties.
If you are a contractor, which party did you vote for? Please use comments to say why…
— ITContracting.com (@justcontracting) December 12, 2019
Of course, promises made by politicians are often broken, especially those made in a half-hearted way just days before an election. This is why the Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign has wasted no time in calling on the Government to take urgent action over IR35, especially considering that the ruinous off-payroll rules are set to be rolled out across the private sector on April 6th.
Campaign calls for the April 2020 roll-out to be cancelled, and IR35 to be reviewed
The campaign group is backed by organisations including the Forum of Private Business and FCSA, as well as service providers and sites like ours. Over 2,000 individuals have also signed up to actively help the campaign.
The campaign asked candidates during the election campaign to commit to the following:
- To agree to oppose the roll-out of the IR35 ‘off-payroll’ rules..
- To back a review into how contracting should be recognised in the tax system.
- To support and celebrate the contribution made by the UK’s 5 million self-employed people and to only back legislative changes that do this.
Several high-profile MPs have already backed the campaign’s aims – including John Redwood, Grant Shapps and Nigel Evans.
What happens now?
As things stand, the ‘off-payroll’ rules will go-ahead in the private sector from April 2020 – causing a major change to the way IR35 operates currently, and massive disruption to contractors, clients, and everyone in between.
Until now, contractors were responsible for determining their employment status. However, under the new ‘Section 10’ rules, clients will now take on this responsibility, as well as liabilities should they later be found to have made the wrong determination. The lack of certainty is causing many large contractor hirers to simply stop taking on limited company contractors, or insist their current contractors become traditional employees or use umbrella companies.
Therefore, an IR35 ‘review’ is effectively meaningless, unless the private sector rollout is cancelled or paused beforehand.
Director of the campaign, Dave Chaplin said: “The contracting sector must now lobby all new MPs and urge them to support the UK’s flexible economy. Contracting and freelancing are hugely important to the nation and it’s time they were celebrated, not undermined. We urge contractors, freelancers and sector organisations to join our 2,000 campaigners and lobby every single election candidate, asking them to help stop the Off-Payroll Tax.”