Contractors will have a voice on the government’s new IR35 Forum through the PCG, which has been asked to join the body set up to monitor and evaluate HMRC’s approach to administering IR35.
This follows the Chancellor’s decision in the 2011 Budget to retain IR35, but ensure it is better administered, and an admission by HMRC officials, reported by PCG, that HMRC performance needs to “improve considerably”.
“It is vital that freelancers are properly represented at this juncture,” says PCG managing director John Brazier, who believes there to be a genuine climate for change. “As the UK’s largest association representing freelancers and contractors, it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to deliver that change and to ensure the best business environment for freelancers. This remains our core objective.”
ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin says: “It’s great to see PCG working on behalf of contractors in this way. If IR35 is better enforced, this can only be a good thing for genuine contractors, who will get certainty about their status and not have to worry about being caught by IR35. Blatant cases of disguised employment will get caught, whilst genuine contractors can focus on their businesses, rather than wasting time, effort and money on unnecessary admin’.”
PCG’s inclusion in the IR35 Forum follows an Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) conference held on 6th April 2011, which was attended by PCG, tax experts, accountancy firms and small businesses. A PCG statement says: “PCG understands they are the first organisation in the UK to be asked by the government to join the new IR35 Forum. It was clear [at the OTS conference] that the Forum should be a positive and practical platform for improving how IR35 is implemented.”
Brazier says that PCG has been assured that far from being a ‘talking shop’, the new Forum will be a positive force for change. He concludes: “PCG has already put forward initial thoughts on how the Forum should work to revamp IR35. We will continue to develop these ideas in conjunction with our membership.”