Yes there are changes you can make to the way you work and interact with clients, but always remember that the Revenue will start with the contract.
So a tailored and guaranteed IR35-proof contract is essential as you head into negotiations. The only person who cares about this is you, and we can take this load off as you set off to negotiate, meaning you can focus on obtaining the best possible financial result from the contract.
If the HMRC deem a contract you are working under to be “not a live contract”, i.e. a standard pro-forma precedent with little connection to the situation, they may immediately disregard it. In an investigation without a contract the HMRC will attempt to determine what the reality is. The first place they will go is to the client. As we have said before, the client may not help your cause, and will certainly provide information to which you have little opportunity to correct.
The Revenue may well seek direct contact with the client, often by telephone. This in turn means that the Revenue are making up their minds on the basis of a conversation to which you yourself were not privy, on the basis of information you do not know and so cannot argue with. In addition that information may have been given to them by someone who had no actual knowledge of what happened in relation to your contract. In the worst case scenario that information may be based on ignorance and incorrect assumptions. But if the Revenue are told what they want to hear, you then have to persuade them that they have been misinformed
Clients have been slow in adapting their terms to help contract workers, as it has not been regarded as “their problem” if the contract fails under IR 35. Although there are signs that this may change as the client may end up giving employment rights to those caught by IR35 (as seen in recent case law.)
However in the meantime, you are wise to attempt to seal all holes, as you are ultimately the one who suffers. You must remember that your clients might easily land you with a huge tax bill by giving HMRC evidence that implies you were within IR35. If this happens you are not likely to have any legal recourse.
How Much Will it Cost? and How Quickly Can You Do It?
Â£175 + VAT for a simple contract review
Â£395 + VAT for us to draft a contract for you
We work to a 2-3 day turnaround cycle.