Contractor News Roundup: February 2020

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February was a busy month in the world of contracting, particularly with the IR35 legislation and the impending reforms.

Below we’ve summarised some of the key news stories, to keep you up to date with the latest:

Stop IR35 campaign in full swing

A campaign, instigated by Contractor Calculator to stop the reforms was launched in February and began with a demonstration outside Westminster on 12th February. This was backed and attended by hundreds of UK based contractors. The Stop IR35 campaign was also supported by the FCSA.

You can find out more about the campaign here.

Eamonn Holmes loses battle with HMRC

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes lost his case against HMRC and could be faced with a bill of £250,000. The host of This Morning argued that he was paid as a freelancer between 2011 and 2015 and therefore did not owe tax and National Insurance contributions.

However, there was insufficient evidence to prove that Holmes was self-employed and instead deemed that his working practices meant he was an employee of ITV on the basis of Mutuality of Obligation (MOO).

Read more about the case here.

House of Lords open enquiry into IR35 reforms

On 12th February, the House of Lords met to discuss the impending IR35 reforms and present evidence which suggested that the industry was ill-prepared.

The committee asked for practical evidence from contractors, and by the time of the meeting, Lord Forsyth had already received around 300 emails in response.

You can find out more about the inquiry here.

Rishi Sunak promises to be fair over IR35 tax changes

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised that the IR35 reform will not be ‘heavy-handed’. It is intended that in the first year, there will be a soft rollout.

Sunak commented the following:

“I’ve spent time with HMRC to ensure they are not going to be at all heavy-handed for the first year to give people time to adjust as well, which I think is an appropriate and fair thing to do.”

Find out more here.

HMRC publishes update to off-payroll working legislation

On 7th February, HMRC published an update to their off-payroll working legislation, as part of their ongoing review into the implementation of the reforms. As part of their update, HMRC confirmed that the changes forecast for April 2020 will only apply to payments made for services provided on or after 6th April.

You can read the updated version here.

Stay up to date

In a world of ever-changing legislation, support can make all the difference. Visit our news centre to stay up to date with all of the latest industry news and updates.

Update: at the time this article was written, the off-payroll (IR35) reforms were due to be implemented on the 6th April 2020. On the 17th March 2020, the UK government announced that it would be deferring the reforms to the 6th April 2021 to help businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

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