IR35 delayed - a bit late isn't it?
I think I, along with thousands of others, jumped with joy at the announcement yesterday evening by Stephen Barclay MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that the impending off payroll legislation known as IR35 would be deferred until April 2021.
As good as this news is, we should never have reached this point with the legislation. The contract community and the wider business community have been arguing for the past 18 months (at least) that it is no fair and is not fit for purpose (as we have seen in the public sector).
It’s difficult not to feel that HMRC knew it was a pile of the proverbial a long time ago but wasn’t prepared to lose face by delaying it and simply carried on with it, and now they have a convenient get out by blaming it the current coronavirus emergency.
For anyone following IR35 closely, you may have read that the House of Lords ripped HMRC and the IR35 legislation to shreds over the past few days. HMRC was incapable of justifying many points raised by the Lords.
I am fully aware of the vast amount of time spent in preparation for April 6th 2020 but agencies, clients, umbrellas, accountants and contractors, the cost of which is immeasurable. Just like in April 2017 when we got sight of the final public sector legislation 2 weeks before the April 6th deadline, we now have clarity just over 2 weeks before the private sector deadline. Maybe HMRC and Gov work in a parallel universe where business has nothing better to do than to react to legislative changes at the very last minute.
Let’s hope that the next 12 months give HMRC time to make the legislation more realistic, fair and workable for all. I’m not holding my breath.