All parties “should use this time wisely to prepare,” Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Mark Beal-Preston has said in response to news in the 2018 Budget that the ‘Off-payroll’’ rules will be extended to large and medium-sized businesses in the private sector in April 2020.
Mark is the CCO of Optionis Group, which includes First Freelance, one of the UK’s leading contractor accountancy companies and business partner of REC.
He said: “Whilst the private sector and professional contractors will have breathed a collective sigh of relief that the Chancellor has not elected to steamroller these controversial reforms through in April 2019, large and medium-sized private sector businesses should use this time wisely to prepare for its implementation in April 2020.”
Mark said “in order to retain the many benefits of a flexible contingent workforce, businesses must ensure they are in a position to make accurate status assessments and avoid a blanket approach”. This includes reviewing the day-to-day working practices and contracts throughout the labour supply chain.
He said, there needs to be a “coordinated effort between all parties to drive compliance, while avoiding any associated disruptions to businesses."
“It’s in the interests of the commercial sector and wider economy to ensure these reforms are executed correctly and fairly to sustain one of the UK’s greatest resources – its independent flexible workforce,” he said.
“The businesses impacted in the private sector who place or engage individuals supplying their services via an intermediary, such as a limited company, should consider the preparations that they need to make in anticipation of the implementation of the new rules,” he added.
In order to provide a smooth transition, Mark said the steps that those businesses impacted should take to compliantly engage their contingent workforce include to: identify the population of workers in scope; undertake a full impact assessment on their business; and develop and implement a robust process for making correct status assessments.
‘’This is not as difficult as it sounds with the correct support and guidance,’’ he said.
He said they should also ensure that payroll software is able to cope with the changes, and select the right IR35 specialist to steer their business through the changes. Businesses should consider whether any changes to contracts or working practices throughout the supply chain are necessary – seeking to redraft, restructure or renegotiate arrangements where appropriate.