Understanding Off-Payroll Working

Understanding off-payroll working is crucial for both clients and contractors, especially when collaborating with a payroll provider, to ensure compliance with tax regulations and accurate financial management. Introduced by HMRC, these rules are designed to address tax avoidance by individuals working through intermediaries. The legislation determines whether a worker should be treated as an employee for tax purposes when providing services through an intermediary, like a Personal Service Company (PSC).

If deemed working “inside IR35,” the intermediary (recruitment or payroll company) deducts taxes at source. If the scope of work is “outside IR35,” the worker can manage their taxes either as a sole trader or via a PSC. IR35 benefits workers operating genuinely as independent contractors and clients by ensuring fair taxation. It prevents tax advantages gained by avoiding employment taxes and fosters a level playing field for all workers, promoting tax compliance and fair employment practices.

Rules and Applicability

Who do these rules apply to?

These rules impact:

  1. Sole traders or workers using their intermediary (PSC, partnership etc.)
  2. Clients receiving services through an intermediary
  3. Agencies or suppliers providing workers’ services through intermediaries

When do these rules apply?

The rules come into play if a worker provides services through their intermediary. The determination of employment status for tax purposes depends on the client’s sector (public, private, voluntary) and size (small or mid/large-sized).

  • Public Sector: Clients are usually responsible for determining employment status.
  • Private and Voluntary Sectors: Clients are typically responsible, but for small businesses, the payroll company makes this determination.

Off-Payroll Working Compared with PAYE

Unlike traditional PAYE models where workers bear employment costs in addition to taxes, off-payroll working shifts this responsibility to the agency or end client. This ensures no added expenses for the workers, who receive all traditional employment benefits without an uplift in pay during contracting. The off-payroll working rules operate on a contract-by-contract basis. The client or payroll company use tools like the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) to determine a worker’s tax status. If deemed employed for tax purposes, the client produces a Status Determination Statement (SDS) outlining the reasons for their determination.

The Next Step

We understand that it is paramount for workers to adhere to HMRC’s legislative requirements. Out of Futurelink’s array of fully compliant options, we recommend our Hybrid model, our Umbrella PAYE option, and our PEO solution for those operating inside IR35. Not only do these options prioritise regulatory compliance but they also ensure optimal efficiency and convenience for professionals operating within the ambit of IR35.

If you have any questions about the legislation or how to determine worker status, feel free to contact us at 01923 277 900 or helpdesk@futurelinkgroup.co.uk.