Freelance and contractor organisations are organising a protest outside Parliament next week against plans to roll out controversial IR35 tax legislation to the private sector.
Contractors and freelancers from across the UK are to hold a protest at Westminster on 12th February against Government plans to roll-out controversial IR35 off-payroll tax to the private sector in April.
While the Government did announce a review of its plans after coming under pressure during the general election, this will not affect the roll-out. Freelancers and contractors fear it will have a “devastating effect” and point to the impact in the public sector where the legislation was first introduced in April 2017. They claim that many locum doctors and nurses have left the NHS as a result, adding to staffing shortages in some areas.
The Government says the legislation aims to ensure employers don’t avoid tax by contracting out regular work that an employee would do. Last week it was announced that the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee will scrutinise the impact of the changes before they come into force in April and that the new rules will only apply to payments made for services provided on or after 6 April 2020. HMRC says this is a response to business concerns about what payments the rules apply to and from when.
Campaigners’ main fear about the roll-out to the private sector is that employers will adopt a blanket ban on using contractors due to the complexity of the legislation or will contract offshore, meaning many UK contractors could face closing their limited companies. Campaigners say some large employers have already started shedding contractors.
Another concern is that contractors who are deemed, under the legislation, to be disguised employees, could end up being forced into a situation where they are taxed as an employee while receiving none of the perks, such as security of employment, no sickness, maternity/paternity or holiday pay, pension and employment rights.
The Stop The Off-Payroll Tax campaign has organised the Westminster protest and lobby day on 12th February for contractors and freelancers and businesses to lobby their MPs.
The protest and a march to the Treasury to deliver a letter calling for Government to work with the sector will be followed by a drop-in session for MPs hosted by Tim Farron MP, Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale. Farron has tabled a parliamentary motion, Early Day Motion #13, on the subject.
Dave Chaplin, Director of the Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign and CEO of ContractorCalculator said: “The Government is pushing ahead with the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out despite the damage this is already causing and despite a general election campaign commitment by the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, to conduct a proper review of the flawed IR35 legislation. Disappointingly, the Government instead announced a short consultation prior to the rollout in place of a genuine review of IR35…It’s time for this Government to work with, instead of attacking, UK contracting and we hope MPs will help persuade them to stop the Off-Payroll Tax roll-out and work with the sector going forward.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Accounting Technicians has called for a 12-month ‘soft landing’ period for the roll-out to the private sector to last until April 2021.
*Contractors, freelancers and others who can attend and lobby their MP should sign up here or email firstname.lastname@example.org