Despite wide-ranging IR35 changes being introduced next month, research reveals that search interest in IR35 has plummeted since last year’s delay.. The data* shows that the search volume for IR35 topics has dropped by 71% since last year’s announcement that the tax legislation change would be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help ensure contractors are well-prepared ahead of the 6th April deadline, here are the answered to the most asked questions about IR35 according to search engine data.
From ‘how to prepare’ to ‘how much worse off will I be’, this article details Paul’s answers to guide contractors through the looming changes.
How to prepare for IR35
Start by checking your engagements:
- Will you still be responsible for assessing the engagement (this is the case if you are working with small companies)?
- In this context, small companies have 2 of the 3 following characteristics: <£10.2m turnover, <50 employees or a balance sheet total of less than £5.1m)
- Will the responsibility lie with the end client (this is the case if you are working with medium and large companies)?
- Talk to your agency/end client and find out what steps are being taken to determine the IR35 status of engagements
- Talk to your accountant and find out whether remaining as a limited company is the best option
Who does it apply to?
IR35 legislation, also known as off-payroll working, applies to contractors (who undertake the work itself), end clients (who make the status decision) and fee payers (who can be end clients, but are often agencies where they sit above the contractor’s company in the supply chain).
Can IR35 be backdated?
Whilst IR35 legislation is changing in April 2021, HMRC can open a retrospective enquiry into your tax and National Insurance Contributions, which could go as far back as four or six years depending upon the circumstances. HMRC have clarified that they will undertake such enquiries if they suspect fraud or criminal behaviour.
What does IR35 stand for?
IR35 stands for Inland Revenue 35, which was the name of the press release that first announced the anti-tax avoidance legislation. The correct term is the Intermediaries Legislation – the contractor’s company is the intermediary.
How much worse off will I be?
Calculating how much worse off you will be if you are deemed to be ‘inside’ IR35 depends on your individual circumstances.
As an example, a contractor earning £75,000 a year would expect to take home £52,546.32 in retained income if they are ‘outside’ IR35. If they are caught ‘inside’ IR35, the contractor would take home £45,563.95 – so would be almost £7,000 worse off.
Additionally, if your engagement is ‘inside’, any subsistence costs will have to come out of your take home pay, which means that you could be considerably worse off than the £7K.
Does IR35 apply when working abroad?
If the contractor is a UK taxpayer, IR35 must still be considered even if they are working abroad or being paid in a different currency. Who determines the matter will depend upon whether the end client has a UK presence; otherwise the contractor must determine their own IR35 status.
Can IR35 be avoided?
You can’t legally avoid IR35 if you are providing services through a limited company. Your end client will make the decision or, if you are engaged by a small company, it is your responsibility. That doesn’t mean whether you want to apply IR35, but whether it should apply.
*IR35 interest rate based on Google Trends data from date range 23rd Feb 2020 – 23rd Feb 2021
*Avoid IR35 query results based on Google Trends data logged 24th February 2021
** Most popular query results based on Google Trends data on 28th January 2021
***Most asked questions based on Answer the Public data logged 28th January 2021
*Data from specialist insurer Markel Direct,