The Institute of Interim Management, together with Interim provider Boyden, international law firm Withersworldwide, and specialist contractor insurance broker Qdos recently co-hosted an evening event looking at the implications of HMRC’s most recent proposed changes to the IR35 regime.
Most Interims will be aware that from April 2017 end-user clients in the public sector, together with any intermediary agency have become responsible for determining whether or not a contract falls within or outside the IR35 rules. HMRC has been so pleased with the results of this, in terms of collecting National Insurance and PAYE, that it is intending to extend the new rules to cover end-user clients and intermediary agencies in the private sector, as well.
A consultation was published by HMRC early in March this year, setting out its proposals for this change. These complex proposals are therefore potentially still subject to alteration, but the direction of travel is clear for the professionally independent people in the UK.
The evening’s programme began with a presentation by employment experts Hugh More, Natasha Oakshett, and Libby Payne from Withers, setting out the status quo governing the determination of both employment and self-employment status, and the application of IR35. They followed this with a description of the proposed changes, which were illustrated with worked examples presented by Kate Cox of Qdos.
The speakers were then joined by Nick Robeson, managing partner of Boyden Interim, to make up a panel chaired by Charles Stuart of the Institute. The floor was opened up to the audience of some 70 senior Interims to give them the opportunity to make comments and raise questions or concerns about the implications for their businesses and relationships with their clients. A lively debate followed, with a wide variety of searching questions posed to the panel.
As the evening demonstrated, the government’s proposals are likely to have a major impact on all involved with the industry, whether as end-user, Interim provider or Interim practitioner. One of the UK’s strengths is its flexible labour market, which has been increasingly benefiting organisations in the public and private sectors alike, for almost three decades. This particularly needs to be maintained in the highly competitive environment that will exist post-Brexit. Ensuring that the UK economy continues to benefit from this flexibility in the face of HMRC’s proposals will, regrettably, preoccupy all concerned for some considerable time to come.
The formal part of the evening was followed by networking, more debate and searching questions, over refreshments, at Withers’ London offices. The IIM is most grateful to Withers for their kind hospitality and to all our speakers for sharing their knowledge and expertise.