As the industry heads towards the IR35 deadline, an online accountancy service provider inniAccounts has launched www.offpayroll.org.uk to help contractors that are struggling to get fair treatment over IR35. The site has also been set up to name and shame clients – in particular those who won’t engage with contractors that use their own limited company.
According to inniAccounts, while blanket outside IR35 bans will be illegal in April 2020, many clients are legally circumventing scrutiny by simply making it company policy to not engage contractors who operate using their own limited company (also known as PSCs). Since launching the site on 6th January, numerous multi-nationals spanning construction to telecoms, finance to retail, through to government agencies have been named as treating contractors unfairly including Sky, Jaguar Land Rover, Ocado Technology, GE Aviation, Three, HSBC, Quilter. (Full list here https://www.offpayroll.org.uk/)
Over 150,000 contractors have engaged with the social media campaign accompanying the site and it is proving to be a useful way for contractors to work together to understand the impact of off-payroll working and which companies to avoid. The community-driven site says is has also identified the companies getting it right by providing very clear frameworks for engagement. These are the ones contractors should seek out for their next contract.
James Poyser, CEO of inniAccounts, says that the campaign is a warning shot to companies who aren’t playing by the rules: “It’s always been a very mixed picture out there – some consultants are being forced into PAYE/umbrella, some have the IR35 all-clear, but the overwhelming trend is that the larger the client, the more likely they are to have unfair policies, mostly due to a lack of resource, and exclude anyone operating a PSC.
“It’s not easy to find this out so offpayroll.org.uk is designed to help find the best and the worst,” he says. “It’s also giving contractors a forum to stand united against unfair treatment and demonstrate to HMRC that the process for assessment, including the CEST tool, is simply not working and is putting livelihoods and economic progress at risk. It’s abundantly clear looking at the list of companies that lots have left it too late to assess IR35 properly. The comments being left on the site show that there are blanket bans on contractors who have a company, which in effect is removing their status as a business owner, and demoting them to temps.”
inniAccounts say they will continue to lobby MP Savij David for change, using information shared on offpayroll.org,uk.