HMRC has delayed the introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector as part of its measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reforms will shift the responsibility for assessing employment status to the organisations employing individuals. The rules would have applied to contractors working for medium and large organisations in the private sector, and were due to come into effect on 6 April. Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, stressed that the introduction of the rules has simply been delayed, rather than cancelled. The rules will now take effect on 6 April 2021.
In a statement, HMRC said:
‘This is part of additional support for businesses and individuals to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.
‘This means that the different rules that exist for inside and outside the public sector will continue to apply until 6 April 2021.’
The introduction of the off-payroll rules to the private sector, which are known as IR35 and have applied to the public sector since 2017, was reviewed earlier this year. The changes were due to go ahead alongside the implementation of measures to support affected businesses and individuals.
Commenting on the delay, Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), said:
‘The government has done the sensible thing by delaying the changes to IR35 in the private sector.
‘This is a sensible step to limit the damage to self-employed businesses in this grave and unprecedented situation, but we also urge the government to do more. It must create an emergency Income Protection Fund to keep the UK’s crucial self-employed businesses afloat.’