A late amendment to Clause 7, Schedule 1 of Finance Bill 2017 has been made which will see certain private sector businesses excluded from the IR35 off-payroll rules.
The definition of ‘public authority’ has been amended to correct a technical error which unintentionally brought some private sector businesses within the scope of the off-payroll rules because they provide services on behalf of the NHS.
High street pharmacies and opticians would have inadvertently been within the scope of the rules and therefore required to consider whether they were applicable when engaging contractors, which was never the original intention.
The definition of ‘public authority’ in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 extend to the provision of pharmaceutical and ophthalmic services for the NHS. As retail pharmacists and opticians provide NHS services, without this amendment the definitions would have included them.
NHS hospitals will however still need to consider the application of the off-payroll rules to all contractors working for them. This includes freelancers, who are providing ophthalmic and pharmaceutical services.
GP surgeries and dental practices providing NHS medical and dental services will also continue to be required to consider the rules when engaging contractors.