The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has stated that the recent changes to the rules relating to off-payroll workers, commonly known as IR35, 'undermine the self-employed at the worst possible time'.
The changes to IR35 took effect on 6 April 2021, and shift responsibility for making the decision on employment status on each contract away from contractors and personal service companies (PSCs) and on to the client receiving their services. This has already been done in the public sector.
Research carried out by IPSE found that 50% of contractors planned to stop contracting in the UK once the changes took effect unless they could secure contracts unaffected by them. 24% are planning to seek contracts abroad; 12% plan to stop working altogether; 17% will seek an employed role; and 11% are looking to retire within the next year.
Additionally, 24% of contractors said their clients are planning to blanket-assess all their contractors as 'inside IR35'.
'The changes to IR35 would do serious harm to the self-employed sector at the best of times, but now they are adding drastic, unnecessary damage to the financial carnage of the pandemic – undermining the UK's contractors at the worst possible time,' said Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE.
'The crucial problem with IR35 is still its complexity: in fact, it is so complex that HMRC has lost the majority of tribunals on its own legislation. And there remains serious doubts about the CEST tool HMRC designed to supposedly cut through this complexity.'