IR35 – Still hiding from the monster?

“…it is our firm belief that customers using consultancy services from Spike95 fall firmly outside IR35.”

The other day someone in a meeting mentioned the old Peter Kay wardrobe monster beer advert, remember that one? “It’s not the burglars it’s the wardrobe monster you wanna be scared of”. Visions of monsters and hiding under the duvet got me thinking about the other monster that looms large: IR35.

Our thoughts on this whole debacle are many and we worry for its various flaws, potential repercussions and possible future impacts. Unwieldy, unnecessary, widely misunderstood, open to interpretation, contentious, badly managed and targeting the problems of the tax revenue the wrong way. Such that it is more likely to deliver deeper and longer-term damage. Indeed, that feels like a whole other article for another day! Let’s just say that like most we’re not onboard!

But as I write this, the Chancellor is due to confirm plans in his budget on 11 March and we expect that IR35 is still coming in on 5 April. For any business a change in legislation is a challenge that justifies discussion, analysis, research, advice and implementation. It has taken time for us to do it thoroughly but having done so we have determined customers using consultancy services from Spike95 fall firmly outside IR35.

As we surveyed the market, we’ve seen horror stories of how people aim to ‘beat IR35’ with individuals and companies using a wide range of arguably misguided tactics to avoid IR35 rather than properly facing this demon. First up are companies applying blanket assessments on all their non-permanent staff. Whilst that may feel like an easy short term fix they’re not solving the problem of how they engage external help and certainly creating a problem for how they will deliver their future project needs when the dust settles.  They are also allowing some of their strongest and experienced people to walk at the end of March.

As an individual, jumping to an employee relationship, umbrella or other intermediary if you’ve been assessed inside IR35 may also fix the initial problem but fundamentally changes how you work, the flexibility you have and opens a Pandora’s box of potential backwards investigation (as shown by conflicting public statements contradicting releases of our tax body’s handbooks). Moreover, you would still have all the same risks of operating under contract and maintain the need to provide all your own sick cover, healthcare etc.

Just changing your name to include consultancy or issuing paperwork that looks compliant but doesn’t match working practices simply won’t cut it either and those happy to play the odds or worse just hoping for the best, well bon chance (if we can still say that post-Brexit?!).

Spike95 have a clear and ratified approach based on years of consultancy experience helping customers make sure their software is scalable, reliable and delivers the experience their customers expect. We use contractor IR35, I’d strongly recommend you do your due diligence, consider the short and longer term carefully and take advice as we’ve done.

Get in touch to hear about our journey through IR35 and how Spike95 can help keep your project moving leading to faster IT systems and happy customers.