IR35 changes – April 2020

New information requirements, status disputes and anti-avoidance

Currently, where the client is in the public sector, it must tell the entity it contracts with of its determination of the freelancer’s status. From April 2020, HMG intends to introduce new IR35 rules that will require private sector and public sector clients to inform both the entity they contract with and the freelancer or PSC of their determination and, if requested, the client’s reasons for it.

HMG also intends new IR35 rules to change so that all intermediary recipients of the determination (i.e. those in the chain other than the client and the freelancer or PSC) are required to pass the determination (and, if requested, the reasons for it) on to the person with whom they contract.

The proposed new rules for the private sector are likely to include mechanisms for challenging decisions as to whether or not a freelancer is within IR35, and a means for resolving such disputes. Where a party is initially liable to determine status and does not do so, or does so without reasonable care, or if it does not fulfil any other IR35 obligation, it will be made liable for tax and NI even if it is not the fee payer. Where a party is liable for tax and NI but in the event it cannot be collected from that party, the rules are likely to have the effect of moving liability to the next entity in the labour supply chain.