IR35 specialist centres to be established

THE GOVERNMENT is to set up dedicated helplines staffed by specialists to improve the administration of IR35, it has announced.

In a letter to Office of Tax Simplification, chairman Michael Jack, tax director John Whiting and Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke confirmed that the government would not abolish the legislation or introduce a business test to decide if individuals count as self-employed.

As announced in the Budget, Gauke confirmed the government would improve the administration of the controversial legislation, which has been criticised for ambiguity over self-employment.

“The changes to be made will include setting up a dedicated helpline staffed by specialists; publishing guidance on those types of cases HMRC view as outside the scope of IR35; targeting compliance activity by restricting reviews to high-risk cases; and setting up an IR35 forum that will monitor HMRC’s new approach,” Gauke said. Everyone involved in the OTS’s initial review of IR35 would be invited to join the forum, he confirmed.

The concept of a business test was not appropriate because it would be “very challenging to devise a test that would work for business and HMRC”, Gauke added.

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