Off-payroll: Follow the Monitoring star!


A message from our CEO, Dave Chaplin:

As we approach the end of 2021 you may all be asking the same question: “What is the true meaning of IR35 compliance?!”

Ok, granted, the only status factor some of us (me included) will be contemplating over the next few weeks is the one when we step on the scales after the New Year as we cry “Hallo dry January.”

As 2022 dawns, we will be just a few months away from the anniversary of the birth of Off-payroll working in the private sector. Perhaps not a cause for celebration, but certainly time for some sober reflection on the previous year and what really needs doing going forward - especially as HMRCs “light touch” approach finishes and proper enforcement begins.

So, my first festive question:

Q: How do you ensure you don’t end up at the wrong end of an IR35 tax tribunal decision?

A: Don’t go there in the first place.

HMRC has unique powers whereby it can form an opinion that you owe them money, and then either you pay, or have to prove to a court they are wrong at an appeal hearing. So, question two:

Q: If you go to court without any evidence, other than protestations, does this discharge your burden of proof?

A: No. Because you don’t have any corroborated evidence.

Some firms have been saying they will do “re-assessments”, but let me just burst that pointless bubble now. A re-assessment is not evidence. It’s like a policeman asking a robber whether they did the crime, and robber saying “No” for the second time. Where is the evidence that proves the robber wasn’t at the scene of the crime?

Contractual terms and status assessments, with the production of the Status Determination Statement are only the first part of compliance when it comes to the Off-payroll world – because unlike the old legislation where we assessed afterwards, the contract hasn’t started yet.

The contract runs from a start date to an end date, and we need to check along the way that the original claims made in the assessment are still true, and we should gather some evidence to make the position bulletproof, in case HMRC knock on the door. If you do that, you won’t be going to a tax tribunal.

We help defend cases, and it’s stressful and expensive. You don’t want to go there. But, fortunately, we know the terrain, and everything we do at IR35 Shield leverages our frontline experiences of helping to defend cases at tax tribunal.

We built the first ever online status assessment tool in 2009, and we have continued to innovate and launch our unique Monitoring capability this year – to automate the fundamental part of the process that protects you going forward.

And, for clients that choose Monitoring, all assessments are included for no extra charge. That’s right. Assessments are now effectively free. More game-changing innovation from us at IR35 Shield

If you would like to learn more about Monitoring and upgrading your compliance to cover the full compliance cycle, then get in touch and we’ll book some time to speak in early January.

In the meantime, have a great festive break and New Year, and we look forward to working with you in 2022.

Dave Chaplin

Dave Chaplin is a former IT contractor, founder and CEO of IR35 Shield. He is also the author of "Contractors' Handbook" and "IR35 and Off-Payroll Explained".