The row over the government’s crackdown on personal services companies shows no signs of abating. And now the Tories have identified a bizarre loophole in the IR35 crackdown – but gay consultants will have to ‘come out’ to benefit. Shadow finance minister Richard Ottaway claimed the rules designed to prevent wives or other relatives being used in a partnership to get around the crackdown appears to exempt homosexual partners. Ottaway explained in the Commons that provisions extend the service company crackdown to partnerships where the worker in combination with relatives is entitled to 60% or more of the profits. Regulations define relative as ‘husband and wife’ as well as some other family members, and specifically treat ‘a man and a woman living together as husband and wife as if they were married to each other’. Ottaway observed: ‘The legislation does not apply to homosexual couples. We know that the government is hostile to marriage, but this is the first time that common law relationships between a man and woman have been recognised in the tax system and the first time that homosexuality has been treated as an exception under legislation.’
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