Sopra Steria Recruitment, one of the UK’s leading staffing companies and managed recruitment service providers, has given its response to HMRC’s latest consultation on the changes to rules around off-payroll working in the private sector, better known as IR35, which are set to come into effect in April 2020.
Joyce Blundell, Head of Compliance, Sopra Steria Recruitment, commented:
“As the introduction of changes to off-payroll working in the private sector draw closer, we have tried to be as invested as we can in the consultation – and get as many industry peers as possible to help lobby in our favour. While we welcomed the postponement of changes until April 2020, it’s disappointing to see that the debate has shifted towards ‘how’ we can implement the changes, rather than their potential impact on the market, recruitment businesses, contractors and industry.
“If changes don’t come in the same form in both public and private sectors, access to talent could be significantly impacted for companies that employ contractors working through PSCs, who will most likely raise their rates or look to permanent roles.
“We strongly advise that HMRC look into the creation of a comprehensive portal to manage the decision process and ensure compliance, transparency, and consistency across both sectors. A central portal would make the process transparent for all parties. For instance, workers challenging client decisions would be able to go through the portal, and clients would be able to inform workers directly of status determination.
“It is also our view that HMRC must create legislation to mandate that liability flows down the supply chain. This must start with clients, who should be responsible for determining status of workers at the outset, ideally when a vacancy is created. Then, every party can then be clear as this is passed down the line. Ultimately, the fee-payer will then make the payment and manage deductions.
“Businesses will need to ensure there are consistent decision making processes for status determination in place, and existing contingent workforces will need to be reviewed to determine which employment models contractors are working through. To ensure administration is as simple as possible, every company should have a person, or people, solely responsible for assessing employment status of individual contractors. Finally, it is vital that companies review their recruitment providers to ensure they are using IR35-compliant models.”