HMRC has issued new guidance on IR35, to replace the ‘FAQ’ section which has been in existence since the Intermediaries Legislation first became law in 2000.
The guidance has been designed to provide clearer answers to those potentially affected by IR35, and is divided into 6 sections, including one which covers the much-maligned official IR35 contract review service.
You can download the PDF here (from the HMRC site).
Government response to IR35 report savaged
Industry experts and peers have condemned the Government’s response to a House of Lords Select Committee report on personal service companies (which focused mainly on the viability of IR35).
In its response, the Government says that it doesn’t forsee any significant changes being made to the IR35 regime, and once again backs up the claim that it would cost the Treasury £550m if the Intermediaries Legislation were abolished.
Various members of the House of Lords dismissed the Government’s response during a subsequent debate, calling HMRC’s evidence ‘inconsistent’ and ‘flimsy’, and the Government’s response ‘very inadequate’.
Cheered by the Lords’ damning verdict on the Government’s response, Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs at PCG said that it was “heartening to see so many members of the House of Lords reinforce their scepticism of HMRC’s cost and risk estimates when it comes to the impact of IR35.”
Commenting on the £550m figure, the PCG said that “the calculation they have offered in their response is based on a series of assumptions, which is a particularly alarming admission given that this figure is the sole justification put forward for keeping IR35 in place.”
Demand for contractors in Scotland high, as supply dries up
The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs shows that the demand for both permanent and contract staff North of the border is driving up rates of pay. Not only are their fewer candidates available for specialist roles, but the number of new job postings also continues to rise at the same time.
The current BoS Labour Market Barometer stands at 61.8, and has remained over the 60 mark since last September – similar figures to those seen in the mid-2000s.
Over half of employers plan to up agency worker headcount
The latest edition of the REC JobsOutlook shows that employer intention to take on more permanent staff is at a record high. Over half of firms surveyed said they also plan to increase the number of contract / agency staff on their books over the next quarter.
In addition, 48% plan to increase their use of agency workers over the next 4-12 months, which is up 4% on last month’s figures.
Read the full report on the REC website.