“I’ve been at the same client for nearly 2 years, so does that mean I have to go permanent?”
This question, or variations of it, is asked again and again. Without doubt it is the most common IR35-related myth and is likely to continue to rear its head for years.
I was speaking to a recruitment agency recently, who told me that one of their large end users actually put a 2 year limit on contract workers because they would ‘be inside IR35’ if they continued. So the myth is being propagated from all angles and it’s concerning to think that people will have lost work because of it.
The simple fact is this: there is absolutely no IR35 limit on how long you can work for a single client. Part of the confusion may be caused by the ’24 month rule’, which means you can’t claim travelling expenses to and from the client’s site when you know the engagement is going to exceed 2 years. But this has nothing to do with IR35.
There are also some changes to employment rights after 2 years’ service, but again this is not connected to IR35. Of course, the longer you are at a particular client, the more HMRC would try and argue that you are ‘part and parcel’ of their organisation. Your potential financial liability would also build up, as HMRC would be looking at the entire time you had been there.
However, if the contract works for all parties and you ensure your remain compliant from an IR35 perspective, there is no reason or need to curtail it. It simply shows good business acumen!
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