For any accountants working with contractors, a good working knowledge of IR35 should be high on your list of priorities. Whether you’re a specialist contractor accountant looking to keep on top of their knowledge, or a more generalist accountancy firm looking to better support their contractor clients, we’ve got you.
As an accountant, there are a number of circumstances in which a contractor will come to you for help relating to their IR35 status. Whether it concerns tax payments, expenses, or financial records, it’s best to know what support they might need and when.
Whilst IR35 is a rather niche topic, having a good understanding of the basics should be fairly straightforward with the right guidance. We work with a number of accountancy practices here at Qdos, using our extensive experience to offer support and advice that our clients can trust.
Introduced in April 2000, IR35 was brought in by HMRC to prevent tax avoidance through the use of personal service companies (PSCs). It requires the assessment of a contractor’s employment status to determine how much tax they need to pay.
If the contractor is outside IR35, they can draw down their income as dividends and manage their finances tax efficiently. If the contractor is inside IR35, they need to pay a ‘deemed payment’ on this income, similar to as if they were an employee of their client.
The legislation has had a series of changes (IR35 reform) which were brought into the public sector in April 2017 and the private sector in 2021. IR35 reform impacted which party was responsible for determining IR35 and who was liable make the tax payments. Before reform in either sector, all of the responsibility for IR35 lay with the contractor. Now, it’s slightly more complicated:
This adds some complications to the accounting where a contractor has multiple contracts across different clients in a single tax year. In reality however, most contractors will seek either all outside-IR35 contracts or simply utilise an umbrella company/other PAYE arrangement. In the less likely scenario that a contractor is working inside IR35 via their PSC, it’ll need to be factored in that their tax will already have been deducted and paid to HMRC by the fee-payer in the supply chain.
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