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Guest Post – The Current State of IR35

Following the release and issue of the recent 2013 budget, many professional individuals will be scratching their heads as to what has and hasn’t changed. Many will indeed be wondering that out of what was said, how much is actually relevant to them and some are probably oblivious to the budget’s existence altogether. On 20th March, George Osborne confidently announced this year’s budget, addressing fuel, housing, economy and tax. But we ask that amongst all of these political ‘hot potatoes’, what does it mean for contractors?

As much as the budget tackled some quite hefty topics (and although to some the price of a pint of beer may seem like the most significant thing in the world) for many limited company contractors, IR35 was the most important professional matter due to be discussed in the budget.

Last Wednesday a large number of contractors were no doubt readily anticipating guidance and clarity regarding office holders and further IR35 information, these topics being eagerly awaited by many during the 2013 Budget statement. This was not to be the case however, when instead contractors were left impatient for more, any hint at IR35 changes being brushed over within a single sentence of the budget itself.

“As announced at Autumn Statement 2012, the Government will make a small amendment to the existing IR35 provisions to equalise the tax and NICs treatment of office holders and put beyond doubt that the legislation applies to office holders for tax purposes (Finance Bill 2013).”

So what does this say about the current state of IR35? Well for limited company contractors, being a self-employed professional in 2013 means that the possibility of an IR35 investigation or enquiry is higher than in recent years. Following last year’s budget, IR35 has become a higher priority within HMRC, specialist teams having been created to combat the potential rise of disguised employees and tax avoidance and because of this, being well versed in IR35 rules and regulations has become a far larger asset to any limited company professional.

As well as this, the importance of protection against the threat of IR35 has become ever more apparent, forms of insurance, cover and accountancy services being advised during the current economic climate and of course, during the current state of contractor tax.

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Troy Stevens is a Copywriter and Marketing Consultant at Qdos Contractor, a dedicated service provider for limited company professionals nationwide. With an extensive history of aiding contractors, being experts in the IR35 legislation and renowned insurance specialists, Qdos have been assisting and supporting thousands of UK sole traders for over a decade.