Reflecting on a year of IR35 reform in the private sector

29th March 2022
Written by Qdos Contractor

The introduction of IR35 reform in the private sector on 6th April 2021 was a historic – not to mention challenging – moment for the contracting sector. 

With contractors losing the right to determine IR35 status – a responsibility that medium and large businesses were transferred – reform posed a considerable threat to independent working. Ever since, Qdos have been working hard to help contractors and businesses navigate this notoriously complex and now reformed set of tax rules.

With IR35 reform having been in force for one year in the private sector, we took a moment to reflect on the support we have offered and continue to offer this £300bn sector of the labour market. 


Guiding over 2,800 thousand businesses 

We have helped over 2,800 businesses with their IR35 compliance. Our award-winning range of IR35 services has given organisations spanning fifteen sectors the confidence to continue engaging contractors while meeting their new legal obligations.

32,000 fair IR35 status reviews (and counting)

In the lead up to reform, we conducted over 32,000 independent IR35 status reviews on behalf of businesses – 86% of which were deemed outside IR35. These were assessed rigorously by members of our award-winning tax team, not an automated IR35 tool or software. They have helped to ensure fair, compliant, and well-informed IR35 status decisions were made by the businesses we work with.

Added to this is the 4,500 contract reviews that Qdos has carried out for contractors looking for confirmation that their client has determined status correctly. These objective IR35 status reviews can prove instrumental in overturning an incorrect decision. 

Over 100 audits 

A key pillar of our IR35 offering to businesses is a comprehensive IR35 audit. Our experts have carried out more than 100 of these, providing the platform from which to design and deliver an IR35 strategy that ensures compliance and allows genuine contractors to operate outside IR35 – where they belong. 

Creating powerful insight

Through multiple studies and research we continue to shine the spotlight on the impact of IR35 reform in both the public and private sectors. This insight plays an important role in highlighting the challenges created by IR35 and has even convinced some businesses to rethink contractor bans made in response to the introduction of reform.

Take a look at our 'IR35 reform: One year on' information hub for a concise view of the year since private sector reform and the support available for the self employed.

Shaping the narrative 

Our key spokespeople continue to champion contractors in the media, holding policymakers and business leaders to account with regards to IR35. And soon after reform had been introduced in the private sector, Qdos was quoted in Parliament, where we were commended for urging businesses to take a fair, pragmatic approach to the IR35 changes. 

The road ahead

The 83% surge in contractors being placed outside IR35 by businesses from April to November 2021 (rising from 35% to 64%) suggests that our work is making a difference to contractors - as do the three prestigious industry awards we have collected for our services. 

However, there’s more that must be done. First, to convince risk-averse businesses to re-engage contractors who they have insisted work via umbrella companies or as employees irrespective of IR35 status. Second, to ensure many more organisations are capable of making fair and compliant IR35 status decisions.

Qdos Contractor
Written by
Qdos Contractor
Award-winning providers of insurance for the self-employed, Qdos are the leading authority on IR35, offering industry-leading employment status services to ensure the flexible working industry thrive. Qdos are the Best Contractor Insurance Provider 2022 and won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2022 and 2017. 

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