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Protest against IR35 reform to take place

Demonstration against IR35 reform will be held outside Parliament

With controversial changes to the Off-payroll working rules drawing closer, a campaign group has organised a demonstration in Westminster in an attempt to halt IR35 reform. 

Led by the lobbying group, Stop the Off-payroll Tax, freelancers and contractors from across the UK will protest outside Parliament on Wednesday 12th February, as they look to have their voices heard. 

The demonstration will take place between 11am – 12pm. The campaigners will then march to the Treasury to deliver a letter that urges the Chancellor to end the ‘war on contracting’ and scrap the changes, which will be enforced on 6th April. 

In the afternoon, former Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron MP, will host a drop-in session in Parliament, where MPs are encouraged to meet constituents who will be impacted by the reform. Mr Farron has tabled a parliamentary motion on the subject. 

Given the problems experienced in the public sector following the introduction of similar measures in 2017, the vast majority of contractors and industry experts believe further IR35 reform is unnecessary. This view is strengthened by multiple reports stating that contractors will be forced onto their client’s payroll, as medium and large private sector firms look to sidestep the changes. 

Government must stop “attacking” contracting

After calling on contractors to join him on the day, Dave Chaplin, Director of Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign, said the Government must work with the sector, not against it: “It’s time for this Government to work with, instead of attacking UK contracting and we hope MPs will help persuade them to stop the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out and work with the sector going forward.” 

Meanwhile, FCSA’s Chief Executive, Julia Kermode, also made her position clear: “It is essential that we join together for this protest so that we can make ourselves heard by MPs who are the only ones with the power to prevent this disastrous legislation becoming a reality.”

IR35 review receives further criticism

The Chancellor was recently condemned by IR35 experts for launching what was described as a ‘lip service’ review into IR35 reform last month. This is something Stop the Off-Payroll Tax are likely to reiterate on 12th February, judging by Mr Chaplin’s comments: “The Government is pushing ahead with the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out despite the damage this is already causing and despite a General Election campaign commitment by the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, to conduct a proper review of the flawed IR35 legislation. Disappointingly, the Government instead announced a short consultation prior to the roll-out in place of a genuine review of IR35.”

“Mounting evidence” cannot be ignored

The Government was also criticised for insisting that public sector reform has been a success and ignoring “mounting evidence” to show the damage that private sector changes will cause. Looking ahead to the demonstration, this was a point that Ian Cass, Manager Director of the Forum of Private Business, made: “The Treasury simply cannot deny the mounting evidence of the damage the off-payroll roll-out will do, with many contractors being laid off and with projects lost to other countries. Even at this late stage, they need to actually listen to people in the sector and to announce a pause to the roll-out and instead work with contractors, freelancers and businesses to work out how best to recognise and support flexible workers who are so important to the UK economy.” 

For more information, please visit the campaign website here.

By Contractor Weekly

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19 thoughts on “Protest against IR35 reform to take place”

  1. Andy C

    The client UK company Is well below 50 in the UK, BUT, the sister company is based in the States having employee count of 100+ will the IR35 apply?

  2. Vrm

    One cannot deny the irony that I’m put off protesting about potentially being moved inside ir35 because I don’t get paid leave because I’m outside ir35. This government needs a kick in the balls.

    • Andy

      Haha exactly my thoughts!!!

      Can I at least expense the travel? After all I am trying to save my company and London isn’t my normal place of work!

      Seriously do people think it will make any difference at all?

      • Philip Drake

        @Andy.
        Good question.
        Is it in the best interests of your company to go?
        Will your company exist if you don’t go?

        It will be like attending a conference and you will be able to network with other people in similar industries and with a common business aim.

        Do you feel it would help the UK economy? – another valid reason.

        In my book that would be a valid business expense.

    • Philip Drake

      It’s entirely up to you.

      When you go on holiday do you wince a little at the thought of not being paid, but still try to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones?

      Same principle applies.
      This is a one day’s investment in your future and others’ futures who now are losing their right to earn in the way that other larger companies do.

      Make a stand on the day and your small investment is compounded by many others.

      Make a stand later and your solitary voice will not be heard.

  3. Prof

    These changes HMRC is introducing will only benefit the recruitment agencies whom I believe has been lobbying those in government to make these changes.
    Because of these changes clients are now moving jobs abroad, which will further develop those countries instead of retaining the jobs to local contractors, HMRC also will lose out on VAT payments when clients pay companies abroad. HMRC is not even checking on this.
    With the economic disruption caused by Brixit, I believe the government should be trying to create and retain jobs instead of causing more job loss locally.
    HMRC forgot to realise that there are other associated jobs like accountants, insurance providers, etc that will also be affected.
    What the legislation should have been is that the client should be responsible for deciding if a contract is inside or outside IR35, sign the necessary contracts which will make the contractor agree to pay the relevant taxes.
    Clients are already doing this with agencies.
    I believe HMRC is trying to favour recruitment agencies over contractor’s limited companies without regard to job losses and the local economy even at this time of Brexit uncertainty.

    • Philip Drake

      @Prof
      I agree with most of what you say:
      ‘These changes HMRC is introducing will only benefit the recruitment agencies’
      – contract locating agencies will be downsized and many will go out of business
      – employee locating businesses will have some increase in sales, but not as many as expected. ie Contractors will either retire completely, change industry (but still remain self-employed), some will go PAYE, some will go through Umbrellas, the majority of jobs will go off-shore.

      ‘whom I believe has been lobbying those in government to make these changes.’
      No. It’s not clear who has been lobbying – which is one of my pet hates – we don’t get to know who has these “bright” ideas nor their hidden agenda!!

      ‘Because of these changes clients are now moving jobs abroad’
      Agreed

      ‘, which will further develop those countries’

      Moot point

      ‘instead of retaining the jobs to local contractors,’
      Agreed – with no jobs the UK economy will stall – we’re all in a big economic circle if one part breaks the whole circle starts to crumble.

      ‘ HMRC also will lose out on VAT payments when clients pay companies abroad. HMRC is not even checking on this.’
      Agreed

      With the economic disruption caused by Brixit, I believe the government should be trying to create and retain jobs instead of causing more job loss locally.
      Agreed

      HMRC forgot to realise that there are other associated jobs like accountants, insurance providers, etc that will also be affected.
      Agreed – including some recruitment companies, B&Bs, transport, take-aways, private rented sector (both as users and also Investors (as personally controlled pensions)), charities … the list is quite long.

      ‘What the legislation should have been is that the client should be responsible for deciding if a contract is inside or outside IR35, sign the necessary contracts which will make the contractor agree to pay the relevant taxes.
      Clients are already doing this with agencies.’

      No – isn’t this exactly what we are resisting against. The clients do not know the contractors situation. Why should a small LTD company be treated differently from a large LTD company.

      ‘I believe HMRC is trying to favour recruitment agencies’
      No recruitment companies are impacted by this

      ‘ over contractor’s limited companies without regard to job losses and the local economy even at this time of Brexit uncertainty.’
      Agreed.

  4. Guy

    Like the Govt gives a toss about any protest about anything.

    • Philip Drake

      @Guy

      I care.
      I’ll be there.
      Do you care?
      ?

      We (the whole of the UK) rule the country.
      We do this via democracy 1 vote at a time.

      Stand up and be counted.
      Be proud to represent your country.
      Wear your medal on your chest.

  5. Guy

    Like the Govt gives a toss about any protest about anything.

  6. Varun

    I will be there. This is really appalling. My client doesn’t even understand what IR35 is. Received an email today regarding IR35 and it said this “If it is determined that you are outside of IR35 you will be classified as a deemed employee, which means that tax and NI should be deducted. You will not be entitled to any other employee benefits such as statutory pay, Automatic Enrolment pensions or holiday pay. The FPS (Full Payment Submission) process will inform HMRC of your employment status.”. Completely opposite of what IR35 says. Highlighted this to them and then received another email with this “If you believe that you fall within IR35, and should not be treated as a deemed employee, please check the HMRC’s CEST tool and pass your CEST assessment to before so that we can verify your assessment.” Really annoying with govt pushing it so hard.

    • Philip Drake

      @Varum
      Good for you.

      Yes, the client seems to be saying all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order.

      CEST has been shown to be biased in HMRCs favour.

      Hhmm but how can they verify the CEST result, against what?

      I signed up to QDOS many years ago and they understand IR35 very well.

      Keep plugging away at your client. Is it a large or small client. If it’s small then it may not be impacted by these changes.

  7. Jon

    I’ve already upped sticks and gone. Stupid thing is I only became a contractor because I wanted to develop my own ideas in robotics, so committing to a full time job seemed wrong. Chances are I will get support and help to develop my company in the EU now. I’ve had enough with the UK for a lifetime now, I’ve no intention of moving back, The UK is just one relentless miserable struggle to survive.

    • Philip Drake

      @Jon
      Good for you. Taking action and following the path to your dream.

      I hope it all works out.

      Make sure that you have your IP protected.

      AI and ML are great subjects to be in, just make sure your robots stick to the 3 laws (Isaac Asimov – I, Robot).

      • Mark Brown

        How about this for hypocrisy ?

        I spotted this on the Jobserve on 14th Jan.
        HMRC Worthing advertising for a SAP contractor explicitly stating OUTSIDE IR35 !

        SAP ABAP Developer – Outside IR35
        Worthing, West Sussex – Up to £450 per DayContractPosted: Tuesday, 14 January 2020

        SAP ABAP Developer – Outside IR35

        SAP ABAP Developer required by Square One Resources for a 6 month contract assignment in Worthing, West Sussex.

        All round ABAP developer who may specialise in the technical areas of Workflow and Adobe Forms, to support an ECC6.0 PSCD system. The developer will be required to support and deliver all WRICEF elements (Workflow, Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements and Forms) on an EhP5 TRM (Tax and Revenue Management) system that makes use of the most up to date technologies including; BRF+, Adobe Interactive forms and ABAP Webdynpro.

  8. A word is enough for the wise

    In light of this can i warn desperate contractors
    to be careful of dodgy umbrella companys out there offering 80% + take home weekly or monthly using a method of two payslips (paye and loan arrangements)
    HMRC are investigating this with umbrella coys like Pulse, Target etc and going after contractors asking for backpayment of taxes with interest. If anyone is offering you any take home that is higher than usual pls exercise caution, am tempted to say HMRC are intentionally watching people fall into this trap instead of closing all this dodgy umbrella coys.
    A word is enough for the wise its an unpleasant situation to be in.

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