IR35: Challenges and Opportunities

What the IR35?! Podcast – Are the Self-Employed falling through the gaps of the governments’ financial support scheme?

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown keeping us all at home, IR35 reforms continue to loom on the horizon, albeit delayed until…

Author Photo by Kingsbridge

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown keeping us all at home, IR35 reforms continue to loom on the horizon, albeit delayed until April 2021 due to the pandemic. During these uncertain times, Kingsbridge has launched a new weekly podcast series, What the IR35?!, speaking to experts on the IR35 situation to help make sense of it for listeners.

Hosted by Kingsbridge MD Thomas Wynne and Legal Manager Nicola Hayman, the first episode sees them chatting to Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE. With everyone dialing in from their respective homes in line with COVID-19 restrictions, the podcast can’t ignore the pandemic and the effects it may have on the reforms as well as contracting more generally.

Andy says IPSE’s big concern at the moment is the number of self-employed people falling through the gaps of the government’s financial support schemes. For instance, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) doesn’t include anyone who became self-employed during the 2019/2020 tax year, or limited company directors.

Of course, limited company directors can furlough themselves and get support on the salary portion of their income through the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) but as directors tend to pay themselves a comparatively small salary and gain the rest of their income through dividends, money from the JRS only covers a tiny portion of their income.

However, Andy says this is still the best option for directors as at least that way you are getting some support.

The conversation quickly switches to IR35, particularly whether or not the reforms will actually happen or not. Nikki points out that the lack of COVID support for PSCs could be a good argument against IR35 to be used by lobbyists. After all, if they can’t have the same support as employees, why should they be taxed as such?

Andy agrees and says IPSE will spend the next year campaigning against the reforms. However, both agree that recruiters, end clients and contractors should all continue to prepare as if the reforms are definitely happening in April 2021 to make sure they’re ready. As Tom puts it, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

You can listen to episode one of the podcast here.

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