One of the biggest frustrations of operating as an intermediary such as a recruitment agency, or as a provider of payroll to contractors like an umbrella company, is the annual cycle of HMRC budgets and statements which may or may not turn the way you work completely upside down.
So here we all are again, waiting with breath held, for the Autumn Statement on November 23rd; will he or won’t he stop the reform of the intermediaries’ legislation which will so dramatically impact those operating with off-payroll workers in the public sector? If we knew categorically, we could be going headlong into the massive process changes that will be required now so that we are up and running for its April 2017 introduction. But the truth of the matter is, we don’t know and ‘therein lies the rub’ (to misquote Hamlet).
The recent meeting (13/10) arranged by APSCo which provided a huge number of agencies with the opportunity to discuss the processes and procedures, the issues and complexities and the currently mystical digital tool with representatives of HMRC, sadly, provided few of the answers we were looking for. With the wealth of responses that HMRC received in their consultation exercise (201 they reported), feedback from a range of sources including the OTS, and the eloquently reasoned arguments against its introduction that were put forward in the meeting on 13 October, it is obvious that there is little appetite for this upheaval the agencies are currently faced with. So we can hope that this outpouring of negativity will have some weight against the ultimate decision of the chancellor on 23 November – but the reality is, we just don’t know.
One thing we are all acutely aware of is the chaos that will ensue if the introduction in April next year is not stopped or delayed. Agencies, payroll companies, public bodies will have 4.5 months to introduce a totally new way of working; they will require new systems, new integrations, new procedures, new staff, new hardware … the list goes on. What they will need is help.
While we cannot promise we will have all of the answers, our Decoding the Autumn Statement event for senior level representatives of recruitment agencies on 6 December may just provide a lifeline. Expert opinion will be provided by an eminently qualified representative of one of the Big 4 consulting firms, the legal team of APSCo and the employment expert from Gateley Plc together with details of possible solutions from QX Ltd itself. And if the chancellor does as we hope and pulls the plug on it, then we can focus on what is contained in the Autumn Statement itself and look at how that is going to affect us – and maybe just raise a glass or two.
If you would like more information on the Decoding the Autumn Statement event, please see here.