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IR35 Advice Centre


What is IR35?

What is IR35
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IR35 Guidance


What is the ​IR35 Legislation?

IR35 is the common name for the Intermediaries Legislation, which is designed to combat tax avoidance. The IR35 legislation is targeted at individuals who are providing services through their own limited companies or partnerships and who may not be paying the tax that they should be.

The legislation should be of huge concern to all contractors; the financial ramifications of falling foul of IR35 can be significant so it is vital that everyone understands how it works.

Why was IR35 introduced?

First issued in 2000, IR35 targets those workers considered in the eyes of the HMRC to be ‘disguised employees’. Contractors, being technically self-employed, are not taxed in the same way as average employees, taking dividends from their company and paying far less in National Insurance Contributions. Because of this, HMRC are keen to ensure that those working as contractors (and paying less tax) are indeed genuinely in business on their own account, and are not working in the same way they would have been if employed directly by their client.

How is IR35 determined?

Some of the criteria used to determine whether someone is ‘inside’ (i.e. caught) or ‘outside’ IR35 is common sense; if you act like and are treated like an employee you should be taxed as one. However, there are a lot of grey areas in the legislation and some points which may seem relatively insignificant can have a major impact. Therefore it’s always best to consult an expert before making any decisions over your IR35 position.

If you choose to work ‘outside’ IR35 and take dividends from your company, you run the risk of being on the receiving end of an IR35 enquiry. This is effectively an investigation where HMRC review your circumstances and ultimately decide whether or not you have been paying tax correctly.

If they decide that you are a ‘disguised employee’, you will be required to make a deemed payment, effectively paying back all tax and NI you would have paid if you were an employee (plus interest and a possible penalty). This can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds, which is why IR35 is such a big issue for contractors.

In an enquiry, HMRC will look at the contract you have with your agency (or end client if direct), so this is the first thing to check when deciding how to trade. Some contracts will contain negative clauses from an IR35 perspective, so it’s important to have it reviewed as early as possible. They will also delve into the actual relationship between you and your client, commonly referred to as your actual working practices.

If your contract is IR35 compliant but they subsequently find that you are treated like an employee in reality, they will effectively say the written contract is worthless. It is therefore vital to ensure that your contract and working practices mirror each other.


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About us

Why Qdos?


Qdos Contractor are one of the leading providers of specialist contractor insurance services in the UK. Our online application process takes only a matter of minutes with all documentation issued instantly. Unlike many other brokers, we don’t hide our premiums until you've provided your details, as we are confident that our premiums, service and product are the best in the market. In addition, Qdos Contractor is one of the leading authorities on the IR35 legislation and have handled well over 1,500 IR35 enquiries on behalf of UK contractors.


Our History


Qdos began in 1988 as a tax consultancy business and has grown significantly over the past two decades, providing expert business services, products and advice. Over the years, Qdos has grown in both size and reputation as a trusted contractor insurance broker as well as an expert tax advisor. Our aim is to provide UK contractors with the assistance and service with IR35 issues they need as well as sustaining excellent quality and competitive premiums in the contractor insurance market.

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