HMRC defends ‘confusing’ IR35 changes

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has responded to criticisms over its forthcoming reforms to IR35, which will see public sector companies such as recruitment agencies responsible for determining whether contractors operating through personal service companies (PSCs) are caught by IR35.

The controversial reforms, which will take effect on 6 April 2017, will also make such ‘fee payers’ responsible for deducting and paying each individual worker’s tax and National Insurance (NI).

But the changes have garnered widespread criticism in recent months, with public sector and contractor bodies arguing that HMRC’s proposals are ‘confusing’ and that the Revenue has failed to deliver an ‘appropriate level of support and guidance’ ahead of their implementation.

Defending the forthcoming changes, an HMRC spokesperson has said that it is “untrue” that the tax authority has failed to offer support.

They said: “Since the Government confirmed at Autumn Statement 2016 that reform of the off-payroll working rules in the public sector will be implemented on 6 April 2017, support materials, including draft legislation and guidance about the changes, have been published on GOV.UK.

“We continue to work closely with public sector organisations and their suppliers to ensure people have the right information ahead of 6 April”.

They added that an “Employment Status Indicator Tool” has been launched to “public and private sector organisations during private development” and insisted that the Tool “will be publicly available shortly”.