IR35 Changes due from 6 April 2021

Main Changes to IR35 rules effective from 6 April 2021


These pages incorporate changes to the IR35 rules that we expect to come into effect on 6 April 2021. No changes in the rules will take effect until then (and they will not have retrospective effect) but for convenience we have stated the position as if the expected changes were in force now. If, when they are enacted in 2020/1, the changes differ from what we expect, we will promptly revise these pages and the relevant Guidance Note if and as necessary.

The changes to IR35 to be made by a Finance Act in 2020/1 will be effective from 6 April 2021. An individual who works through a PSC, and any business or other organisation that engages an individual through a PSC, needs to be aware of these IR35 rule changes.

Until April 2021, if a PSC’s business client is in the private sector, the PSC, not the client, has to identify whether its receipt of gross payments from a client is caught by IR35 as “disguised employment” and, if so, the PSC has to pay tax and NI under PAYE.

As from April 2017 if the client is in the public sector, it is instead the client which must identify whether there is “disguised employment”. In other words, as from April 2017, the responsibility and the tax risk moved from the PSC to the public sector client. As from 6 April 2021, that risk also moves from the PSC to its private sector business client except where the client is classified by IR35 as “small”.

If the business client is in the private sector, it is “small” if at least two of the following apply. (This exception does NOT to apply to a public sector client):

  • its annual turnover is less than £10.2 million;
  • its balance sheet total is less than £5.1 million;
  • it employees number less than an average of 50 in the year.

The size of the PSC and other intermediaries is not relevant for these purposes.

If the private sector business client is not “small”, and its determination is that there is “disguised employment”, it will have to operate PAYE, and the remuneration it pays the PSC must be paid net of tax and NI. If that business client determines however that it is genuine self-employment, the business client will be able to pay the PSC the gross remuneration.

If, apart from the PSC there are one or more other intermediary entities, and the entity paying the PSC is not the PSC’s business client, the payer will instead have to operate PAYE and make payments net. Please see the next page about information requirements (and other IR35 requirements) effective from April 2021.

Although the private sector business client has these responsibilities (unless it is “small”), the individual and their PSC, in their own interest, also need to establish the legal position under IR35 and its consequences to them.

Please also see the Guidance Note for further detail of all 2021 changes.

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