March 3, 2024

HMRC denies outside-IR35 hiring ban as accounts reveal agency’s reliance on umbrella workers

5 min read



HM Income & Customs (HMRC) has denied that it has issued a partial employing ban on constrained business contractors, soon after its hottest established of accounts unveiled a rather massive selection of umbrella personnel carrying out challenge operate for the govt tax selection agency.

HMRC’s accounts, which go over the 12 months to 31 March 2021, exposed that it engaged 403 short term workers, of whom 15 were being identified to be doing the job inside IR35, throughout the reporting interval.  

The remaining 388 persons the company utilized throughout that time had their engagements labeled as becoming “out of scope” of the IR35 principles, which – as for each HMRC’s reporting procedures – implies they had been both performing outside IR35 or engaged by using umbrella firms.

In a abide by-up assertion to Laptop Weekly, HMRC verified that the vast the greater part of the people categorized as being out of scope of the off-payroll policies were being employed by using umbrella companies through this interval, when incredibly couple of ended up identified to be doing the job outside the house IR35.

The company declined to deliver Personal computer Weekly with a specific breakdown of how many of its contractors are working possibly outside the house IR35 or by means of umbrellas.

“Given the very low selection of off-payroll employees who ended up deemed as becoming outside of the scope of the IR35 principles, there would be a possibility that disclosure of the info could guide to the identification of an unique,” said HMRC in a prepared reaction to Laptop or computer Weekly.

Even so, Computer system Weekly understands – by way of resources shut to HMRC – that much less than 5 of the persons whose engagements fell out of scope of the IR35 rules were being operating on an outdoors foundation.

The relatively lower quantity of personnel engaged by HMRC on equally an within- and outside-IR35 foundation, in contrast to how quite a few umbrella company employees it works by using, has prompted contracting marketplace sources to query regardless of whether the company has a partial choosing ban in put.

The roll-out of the IR35 tax-avoidance reforms, in the public sector in 2017 and in the non-public sector through 2021, has resulted in some organisations imposing selecting polices that prioritise the choosing of contractors that are used by using umbrella companies.

This is due to the fact providers that engage umbrella enterprise contractors are absolved from acquiring to decide how those men and women should be taxed, because they are – strictly talking – staff members of the umbrella corporation as a result of which they offer their companies.

This excuses the conclude-shopper, which in this case would be HMRC, from needing to ascertain how these contractors need to be taxed, which also relieves them of a considerable administrative burden.

“The fact that there is a small, one-digit number of contractors seemingly employed by HMRC on an exterior-IR35 foundation indicates they have all but applied a blanket ban,” explained a source within the contracting market, who spoke to Computer Weekly on condition of anonymity.

When Laptop Weekly set this declare to HMRC, a spokesperson denied that it has using the services of insurance policies in put that unfairly favour restricted firm or private assistance company contractors within just the section or its know-how arm, Revenue and Customs Digital Engineering Expert services (RCDTS).

“There is no ban on participating off-payroll personnel using a private company corporation in HMRC or RCDTS,” claimed HMRC in a statement.

The number of temporary workers engaged by HMRC all round through the 2020-2021 economical yr is vastly bigger than the former year, when its accounts described that 55 temporary employees had been engaged by the agency during the 12 months to 31 March 2020.

To this point, HMRC’s accounts validate that the amount used by the company on consultants and momentary workers rose from £1.1m to £8.6m involving the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 monetary yrs.

“This should really not be viewed as a pattern, but is in mild of the finish of the UK’s changeover time period with the EU, Covid-19 and the major Engineering Source programme agenda we are at the moment undertaking,” said HMRC.

Dave Chaplin, CEO of contracting authority ContractorCalculator, explained that Brexit, the pandemic and HMRC’s digital transformation workloads would give rise to heaps of “classic undertaking work” that would be usually carried out by exterior-IR35 contractors.

“Classic outside-IR35 operate is wherever contractors deliver providers on a certain undertaking, and is output-dependent,” he told Laptop or computer Weekly. “Yet they have a tiny variety of contractors employed on an outside the house-IR35 foundation, centered on their accounts. That does not make feeling.

“HMRC rhetoric about off-payroll has generally been that about just one-third of contractors might be functioning on an ‘inside-IR35’ basis. Yet, right here we are observing only a handful of contractors out of hundreds remaining hired in that method.”


Resource connection The UK’s tax agency, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has denied rumors of an outside-IR35 hiring ban as accounts from 2018-19 reveal the agency’s reliance on umbrella workers.

According to accounts produced by HMRC, it spent a total of £98 million on self-employed contractors in 2018-2019. This is an increase of 77% since 2017. The agency has come under fire recently for its controversial IR35 legislation, which is a set of regulations that determine whether someone is an employee or contractor for tax purposes.

However, HMRC has denied rumors of any ban on outside-IR35 hiring. In a statement, HMRC insisted that it “remains open to the engagement of external contractors from the self-employed sector”. They also said that “HMRC has no plans to ban the use of outside-IR35 hiring in any way”.

Nevertheless, the increased reliance on independent contractors does pose some interesting questions regarding their payment structures and employment terms. HMRC is currently dealing with a backlog of cases related to claims by umbrella workers of avoiding paying tax at source.

Critics of HMRC’s IR35 policies have also argued that its regulations are can be ambiguous and open to interpretation, contributing to the uncertain nature of being employed as an independent contractor.

Nevertheless, by denying rumors of any outside-IR35 hiring ban and revealing its reliance on umbrella workers, HMRC is sending a clear message that it is open to the use of outside-IR35 hiring and will continue to do so.