Contractors shun Revenue’s IR35 reviews

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The Revenue launched a contract review service in February 2000 to advise contractors who are still uncertain about their employment status.

The service invites contractors to send their contracts by post or email and promises to provide an opinion within 28 days.

But a survey conducted by contractor website found that only 10% of contractors would ask the Revenue for an employment status opinion regarding their contracts.

A third of contractors who took part in the poll said they would not submit their current contract to the Revenue or a specialist because they were ‘certain it was outside of IR35’.

Around 30% have sought advice from an independent specialist , but 60% stated they would not submit their contract at all.

Of the 60% of those who would ‘wait and see’, half said they were confident they were outside of IR35.

Kevin Miller, an IR35 expert at contractors’ group the PCG, warned that although contractors were entitled to form their own opinion on their status, it must be an informed opinion and not based on ignorance or disregard of the regulations.

‘Members of PCG (Professional Contractors Group) have access to a great deal of advice and assistance from experts and other members to help them judge their own situation. Contractors who are not members or who do not take the time and effort to research the issues elsewhere are at risk of either paying more tax than they need to or of incurring penalties if they have ignored the legislation,’ Miller said.

The Inland Revenue declined to comment on the survey findings.

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