After Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won its biggest majority since 1987 in last week’s General Election, IR35 experts have called on the Prime Minister to “act now” and conduct a review of the off-payroll working rules before the April 2020 roll-out.
Following Mr Johnson’s election win, where each major political party had addressed the issue of IR35 in the weeks leading up to it, the Prime Minister has now been told by IR35 specialists to deliver immediately on the promise his Chancellor, Sajid Javid, made to consult on the legislation.
IR35 experts – many of whom, like contractors, are sceptical that the Government will conduct a genuine review – have stressed the importance of holding it early in the new year. Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, was one commentator who voiced his opinion:
“Boris Johnson must act now,” Mr Maley explained. “A review of IR35 reform has to take place before April’s roll-out. If this timeframe is unrealistic, then changes need to be delayed or, better still, halted altogether.”
Similarily, IPSE’s CEO, Chris Bryce – who said the association was looking forward to working with the new Government – explained that the lobbying body would be “holding Chancellor Sajid Javid to his promise” to consult on IR35.
Given 6th April is on the horizon, Mr Bryce also urged the Government to halt the changes “while a full review is carried out. Time is short: the new Conservative Government must act now to protect this vital sector.”
Despite the Conservative Party introducing IR35 reform in the public sector in 2017 before committing to similar changes in the private sector in 2020, many contractors will have voted for the Tories based on its IR35 promise, said Mr Maley. Because of this, the Qdos CEO made it clear that “the Government now has a responsibility to honour its pledge to hold a genuine review of reform.”
Echoing Maley’s comments was Contractor Calculator founder, Dave Chaplin, who said: “I would urge the Prime Minister to now confirm that he will conduct a proper review, put the off-payroll roll-out on hold and work with the contracting community and stakeholders on devising how best to recognise contracting and freelancing in the tax system.”
Given the Conservative Party was the last of the major political parties to address IR35 before the election, leaving it to December to do so, many IR35 specialists are unconvinced the Government will ultimately delay the changes. When focusing on this, FCSA’s Julia Kermode did not hold back:
“We are already seeing the very real impact of this damaging legislation on businesses and thousands of professionals. If they don’t delay then the promise was nothing short of an arrogant and disingenuous move to secure votes.”
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