man working

IPSE’s manifesto calls on future government to scrap off-payroll working rules

Association labels IR35 reforms “anti-business” and outlines expectations to make self-employment attractive once more

IPSE has launched its manifesto ahead of the general election, calling for an incoming government to end the “impenetrably complex” and “anti-business” off-payroll working rules, alongside a number of other changes to protect the self-employed sector.

The manifesto – titled The Courage Economy – sets out several measures that IPSE wants the next government to address, from introducing ministerial oversight of HMRC to action on late payments.

A comprehensive call to action, the association’s manifesto highlights areas for significant improvement where policymaking is concerned. With a general election scheduled for 4th July, the body’s CEO, Derek Cribb, said the self-employed could play a vital part in deciding who becomes the party of government.

Speaking on its launch, Cribb said: “The self-employed vote is very much up for grabs at this election – more than at any election in living memory”.

The manifesto has been significantly bolstered by the support of Kaye Adams, one of many high-profile contractors targeted by HMRC in its enforcement of IR35 and the off-payroll rules.

Having defended herself against HMRC’s aggressive approach for ten years, her endorsement of the manifesto – and, in particular, the call for ministerial oversight of HMRC – will lend the campaign additional weight in the run-up to polling day.

 

The manifesto measures, in detail

IPSE’s manifesto sets out a range of policies, but the scrapping of the off-payroll and the introduction of “proper ministerial oversight” of HMRC are the headline policies.

Ministerial oversight would prevent the department from “acting unfairly, inefficiently or carelessly” while also holding HMRC accountable for its actions. In turn, IPSE says, this would “improve trust” between HMRC, taxpayers and government, enabling the tax authority to “fulfil its remit with greater confidence”.

Similarly, rather than relying on the off-payroll rules, IPSE wants to see the next government “work constructively with industry to find a way to tax work fairly”.

Other measures put forward include:

  • Unfreezing the VAT registration threshold in the short term, and finding longer-term solutions to “alleviate the disincentives” of the current threshold
  • Increasing the tax-free trading allowance from £1000 to £5000, “incentivising casual freelancers” to try self-employment
  • Modernising the UK’s “vague and outdated” employment status rules
  • Tackling promoters of tax avoidance, rather than taxpayers – “many of whom are unwitting victims” of tax schemes and scams
  • Ending late payments by “updating legislation to deem contractual payment terms longer than 60 days to be null and void”

Self-employed currently ‘let down by policymaking’

In the manifesto’s foreword, Cribb hailed the value that the self-employed drive for the economy – estimated to be worth £330bn – and how self-employment can “unconsciously improve our working lives”.

“Self-employment fosters the pollination of good ideas and successful strategies across companies and industries”, he wrote.

But “the self-employed are being let down by policymaking”, Cribb said. “From patchy financial support at the height of the pandemic to the clobbering of one-person limited companies, the UK is drifting towards a careless indifference to those who work for themselves”.

As such, IPSE wants to see “a fair environment where self-employment is an aspirational and sustainable career choice” which is “respected, protected, supported and celebrated” by the government and reflected in policy decisions.

Endorsing the launch of IPSE’s manifesto and speaking about her own experience of dealing with the tax authority, Kaye Adams said: “My ten-year ordeal at the hands of HMRC has destroyed my faith in the integrity of government institutions”.

“IPSE’s call for stronger oversight and a genuine reassessment of how HMRC operates is the right way forward”, Adams said, concluding: “How can we expect freelancers to succeed if the taxman can roll the dice on their future with impunity?”

2 Comments

  • The Q says:

    The solution to this is very simple :

    1. Disguised employment = disguised employee + disguised EMPLOYER.

    2. The benefits of 1 only occur at SCALE.

    So #1 states that an employer found to be a disguised employer is
    liable for any employee taxes/costs (PAYE, vacation/illness pay etc)
    from the period the worker started to the earlier of their end date or
    the date found against.

    And #2 states there is only significant material gain when you
    have large numbers of disguised employees (so target the big fish) .

    The commercial sector will soon correct their business practices
    (B2B working – fixed price contracts etc) .

    And any managers in the state sector who consistently cause
    disguised employment to occur, they get the boot for
    incompetence + malign detriment to service provider SMEs.

  • Lisa says:

    Most crisisims of contractors I’ve seen are people who miss the point confuse salary with a contractors day rate. The day rate is to cover expenses which in a regular employee/business relationship an employee doesn’t pay and is tax deductable to businesses! If you want equality of taxation charge the tax for equipment and expenses to regular employees!

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