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Off-payroll working – review of draft legislation announced

The Treasury have today announced a review into the upcoming April 2020 off-payroll changes, as promised by Sajid Javid during the recent election campaign.

With the review due to be concluded by mid-February, the key takeaway from the announcement concerns the intention for the review to be concluded by mid-February! The timing would appear to indicate that the Government are aiming for any changes to the current draft legislation to be incorporated into final legislation, which I would expect to be published in the 11 March budget – also announced today.

The associated fall-out from this is that it no longer appears likely that the changes will be delayed and our advice would be to continue to plan for the legislation to be implemented from April. In fact, the announcement states that HMRC will continue to provide education and support to impacted parties to help them prepare for implementation on 6 April 2020.

Given the short time frame between now and the conclusion of the review, we are unlikely to see a major overhaul of the proposed changes detailed in the draft legislation. The announcement has framed the review as a check to see “if any further steps can be taken to ensure smooth and successful implementation of the reforms”. With this in mind, the review is likely to look to address some of the concerns raised by the likes of the CIOT on issues such as the increased transfer of debt powers, where the engagement involves an intermediary such as an agency.

Interestingly, the announcement also goes on to make clear that the off-payroll review will look to ensure those who are self-employed are not impacted by the changes. It goes one step further by also announcing a separate review to support the self-employed.  This will look at improving access to finance and credit, making the tax system easier to navigate and examining how better broadband can boost homeworking. This will be welcome news and is perhaps an attempt to gain back trust of those aggrieved by Phillip Hammond’s attempt to increase national insurance for the self-employed.

The Government will be holding a series of roundtable discussions with stakeholders to allow them to voice their concerns. PKF Francis Clark will be looking to attend these events and would be happy to hear from clients who have concerns with the proposed changes and would like these to be voiced on their behalf.

On a final note, with three months to go until the implementation of the changes and the very strong indication that there will not be a delay to implementation, businesses should be considering how the changes will impact their business. PKF Francis Clark’s dedicated employer solutions team are able to support you as you consider the impact of the changes and Scott Campbell and Steve Ashworth who head up our off-payroll team would be happy to speak to you.

This is the second in our series of pre-Budget articles on what we expect to see on 11 March. Alongside our usual budget day commentary, we will shortly be announcing details of a number of budget events (being held on 12 March across the region). For more information, please keep and eye on our events page or contact devon.hawes@pkf-francisclark.co.uk.

FEATURING: Steve Ashworth
Before joining the Bristol office of PKF Francis Clark in July 2019, Steve started his career at HMRC over 30 years ago and then spent… read more
FEATURING: Scott Campbell
Scott provides advice on all aspects of employment and construction industry scheme taxes, as well as national minimum wage. He particularly enjoys navigating clients through… read more
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