Contractors must wait for IR35 decision

After hearing arguments put forward by Gerald Barling QC on behalf of the Professional Contractors Group and Richard Plender QC for the Inland Revenue, Mr Justice Gibbs chose to delay his decision over a judicial review of the controversial tax measures.

IR35 regulations, which came into force in April, remove many of the tax advantages previously held by contractors who operated through personal service companies. The court will reconvene at 10.30 this morning when a judgement is expected. The ruling can be subject to appeal.

The PCG contested that IR35 is unfair because it taxes one-person businesses more harshly than other organisations, which it believes amounts to ‘state aid’ for large IT contracting companies. It has also said IR35 discourages contractors from trading in the UK and that IR35 contravenes the Human Rights Act.

But the Inland Revenue claimed the legislation ensures everyone who meets the accepted definition of an employee pays tax on broadly the same basis.

It argues that about 90,000 people working through service companies who would otherwise be correctly taxed as employees.

The Revenue claims they earn on average £50,000 a year, and of that they pay an average of 21% in tax and National Insurance Contributions, compared with the 35% which an equivalent direct employee would pay.


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