Challenging the IR35 decision?

Whether IR35 applies or not to you is dependent on a variety of factors, such as a requirement to undertake the services personally; who has the ultimate right of control as to how, when and where the services are to be carried out, the duration of engagement, and through what capacity to you are contracted to conduct the work.

In most cases decision about IR35 status are made before selection of a contractor to deliver the work. That truly isn’t in the ‘spirit’ of IR35.

If you believe that IR35 has been applied to the position as part of a blanket wide enforcement, and that you believe the work you will be or are delivering doesn’t constitute a full-time role or fixed term assignment, nor has other ’hallmarks’ of IR35 enforcement such as where you work, and how the services are carried out; then with appropriate advice and representation, employment status can be successfully challenged by providing evidence that the engagement clearly constitutes self-employment with reference to the factors. If the public sector body refuses to co-operate, then an option open for you is to use this to demand a higher rate to compensate for the additional tax.

There is general confusion and lack of understanding about ‘fair’ application of IR35 status, and it is known that within the same four walls, on the same assignments some contractors to be within IR35 and others out depending on intermediaries they engaged through and contractual wording.

It is though the general feeling by contractors that the ‘easiest’ option is to ‘blanket’ apply IR35 ‘in’, and thus having a longer term effects of pushing up rates to cover the loss inflected to contractors who must travel, stay away from home and have other professional expenses in order to operate and deliver professional work.

Generally, if you are undertaking a specific contract job for a fixed term and have otherwise been treated in the same or similar manner to an employee, then IR35 will apply, but the Tribunal alone is the final arbiter of IR35 status.