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UK’s controversial changes to off-payroll rules will go ahead, despite review announcement

One development that has recently caused no shortage of consternation among independent professionals in the UK is the reform of IR35 rules that will apply to the private sector from April this year.

Now, the British government has finally said that it will be reviewing the impending changes – albeit, with no plans to temporarily call a halt to the changes themselves.

Government aims for “smooth and successful implementation”

A statement from HM Treasury said it was launching a review of changes to off-payroll working rules “to address any concerns from businesses and affected individuals about how they will be implemented.”

The announcement continued: “The review will determine if any further steps can be taken to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the reforms, which are due to come into force in April 2020.

“As part of this, the review will also assess whether any additional support is needed to ensure that the self-employed, who are not in scope of the rules, are not impacted.”

Industry figures disappointed by the lack of postponement

Representatives of the contracting sector in the UK seemed generally unimpressed by the government’s confirmation that the IR35 rule changes would still proceed.

Among them was ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin, who said: “The announcement of this review was a clear opportunity for the Treasury to rule out delay of the new Off-Payroll Tax.

“The fact that the proposed April 2020 rollout is going ahead while the legislation is under review suggests that this government doesn’t have the best interests of the freelance sector and indeed, UK plc at heart.”

However, Chaplin suggested that all was not yet lost for the hopes of contractors, clients and intermediaries eager to stop the changes or at least persuade the government to “soften the blow” of what he described as a “contract jobs-killing measure”.

He called for affected parties to “urgently write to their MP and the Chancellor and request a delay, explaining the impact it will have on their business.”

Meanwhile, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid having suggested in late November in the run-up to the general election that he wanted to “look… again” at the “proposed changes to IR35”, there were accusations from some that he had misled the contractor industry.

As quoted by the ContractorUK website, Julia Kermode, CEO of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), suggested that the newly announced review focusing on “the implementation of the reforms rather than the reforms themselves” was not what Mr Javid had “suggested” previously.

She said such a slimmed-down scope for the review was “not what is needed”, adding that she feared it was “simply the government paying lip-service to empty election promises and [is] nothing short of an insult.”

Whatever regulatory environment awaits you in 2020, we stand ready to assist

We are at the onset of a New Year, and with it, the prospect of continued evolution in the legislative landscape that independent professionals like you will need to get to grips with.

So, wherever you are presently working or intend to work around the globe in 2020, why look further than Link Global Management among the potential companies to partner with, to ensure you benefit from the best in tax-compliant payroll solutions?

Simply enquire today, and we’ll advise and guide you through your options for getting the most out of your overseas working arrangements in the months and year ahead.


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