After years of speculation, lobbying and then, against all odds, a 12-month delay, IR35 reform was finally introduced in the private sector on 6th April, marking arguably the most significant moment in the history of this legislation.
Implementation of reform meant that as it stands, medium and large businesses are responsible for determining the IR35 status of the contractors they engage. It also means that the liability for IR35 now sits with the fee-paying party in the supply chain. This is similar to public sector changes enforced in 2017.
At Qdos, we had spent a number of years preparing for the introduction of private sector reform. In fact, we were preparing well before the public sector changes. With this in mind, we took a moment to reflect on our achievements and the steps we continue to take in helping businesses compliantly manage IR35 reform.
Where IR35 is equal parts ambiguous and complex, we have endeavoured to cut through all the unnecessary jargon and provide the industry with details of the reform as they are announced.
By simplifying a very complex piece of legislation and making this information accessible to our customers, we aimed to make the transferral of responsibility from contractor to end client as seamless and straightforward as possible.
A big part of this process of readying the industry for reform started early, with a mixed approach of webinars, advice articles, whitepapers, and free to download guides.
We have assisted over 2,800 clients and agencies to take fair assessments and manage IR35 reform, helping to ensure the contracting industry continues long into the future, and we continue to push this education after reform.
Since the legislation arrived in 2000 we have carried out over 150,000 expert IR35 status reviews for contractors. As part of our work supporting public and private sector organisations, we have reviewed more than 32,000 (and counting), so these parties can be confident of their compliance and contractors are subject to an independent, rigorous and trusted assessment.
Of these contracts, we have recommended that 87% belong outside of IR35 – an arrangement which allows businesses to continue to benefit from the skills, flexibility and savings offered by genuine contractors.
Our services are award-winning, with Qdos collecting two prestigious industry awards for at the Contracting Awards 2020. We were named ‘The Best Legal Compliance or Tax Adviser’ and ‘The Best Insurance Provider or Broker’ for our leading expertise, quality of services and proven track record of successfully representing clients when it matters.
The Qdos Status Review facility also achieved Qdos the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2017.
We have been vocal about our distrust of HMRC’s IR35 tool, Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) since its release in 2017. Given CEST ignores crucial aspects of the IR35 legislation upon which status can hinge, we do not believe the tool is fit for purpose and advise businesses that it endangers IR35 compliance.
Such is the extent of our concern regarding CEST we launched a campaign, urging businesses to use anything but just CEST – including competing IR35 specialists – to determine the IR35 status of contractors.
In the coming months and as the dust settles on the reform, we will carry on supporting businesses and contractors with their IR35 compliance. As genuine experts who have specialised in the IR35 legislation since its introduction, we are proud of our work and the difference that we have been able to make.
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