Just as a Thank you from HMG for voting Brexit

This has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.
It’s the enforcement of the IR35 legislation (introduced April 2000) that HMRC have been working on for years. It is a badly thought out piece of tax legislation that effectively deems contractors to be disguised ‘employees’ and therefore deducts tax and NI with none of the usual ‘employee’ benefits of holiday, sick pay etc.


Can’t help noticing a tendency to target groups of people who are not well positioned to defend themselves by rioting or withdrawal of labour.


In fairness to HMRC, in regards to the IR35 legislation, there were cases of folks working for companies for tens of years doing the same as the ‘employed’ members of staff.
They were working through their own Ltd companies and therefore paying less tax / NI. The employers were happy for these situations as they had no medical benefit, holiday pay, sick pay etc to have to budget for. However, most IT contractors had six month to a year contracts and therefore were working within the rules that encouraged flexibility and everyone was happy. Obviously HMRC decided it was easier to go for small individuals than large corporates who have tax experts lined up to ease their desire to pay less tax, or in some cases such as Amazon, Google etc none at all !

I was one of those IT contractors and the self-employed status worked well for me. Skills were in short supply and the pay reflected this. But there were risks and we had to take chances on the possibility that accidents or ill health could stop us working.
But now the majority of the self-employed are those doing “low skilled” work on zero-hours contracts who have no opportunity to save some of their earnings or insure against unemployment.
For those people, work is a new form of slavery without freedom of choice or the possibility to refuse work if they don’t think it is interesting or sufficiently rewarding.


As it was for me Mike. I had three stints as an IT contractor during my 35 year IT career. As you say, the only downside used to be the possibility of ill health or accident.
My worst times were just before the end of contract / possible renewal time … a stressful experience if you enjoyed the work and liked the company you were contracting to. It gave me a much bigger experience of IT and consequently got me some interesting roles later as a permanent employee.

My experience of HMRC was very good, when they investigated my tiny boatyard business to decide if the shipwright, engineer and PA were PAYE or not. The arrangement for the first two passed the self-employed test but, not surprisingly, my PA was deemed PAYE.

She had been working for me for 2-3 years but the HMRC-ista, when revisiting to hand over the vast tomes required to calculate tax 'n stuff said, “We are not in the business of giving small companies a hard time. We will not pursue arrears. Just get your employee sorted for PAYE, starting next month.”

I told my PA that if she wanted to stay in the job, she had to do her own PAYE calcs, which she mastered in remarkably quick time. She also told me that she was now entitled to various benefits, including paid maternity leave. :astonished: Thankfully, with two 20-somethings and a late teenager, she was done with all that.