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How to determine status?

How do you determine whether someone is employed or self-employed?

As explained in the information pages above, use of a particular “label” e.g. “freelancer”, does not determine that a worker is self-employed rather than employed. Their legal status is instead determined by the reality of their relationship with their business client.

There will be many cases where it will not be easy to decide whether a worker is an employee or self-employed. The essential question to decide is whether, in carrying out work for a person / organisation, the worker is carrying on a business. Ultimately it is for a court or tribunal to decide.

The Guidance Note: Employment, Self-employment, and IR35 (see Related Documents below) sets out a list of various indicators of (a) employment as opposed to self-employment; and (b) self-employment as opposed to employment. Whether you are the business engaging an individual worker or you are that individual, if the individual is not paid under PAYE, we suggest you consider all of those indicators.

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