The rules for individuals providing services to the public sector via an intermediary such as a personal service company (PSC) changed from April 2017. The new rules shift the responsibility for deciding whether the intermediaries’ legislation applies, known as IR35, from the intermediary itself to the public sector receiving the service. The public sector organisation receiving the services is ultimately held responsible for paying taxes and penalties where an error has occurred. HMRC estimates that they have raised an additional £410 million of Income Tax and NICs due to the changes and that compliance in this area has increased significantly.

In the Autumn Budget 2017 the government announced plans to examine off-payroll working in the private sector. A new consultation has now been launched considering a number of options for increasing compliance in the private sector. HMRC has estimated that only around 10% of people who should comply with the off-payroll working rules do so.

The consultation is divided into two main parts:

  • Reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of the April 2017 changes to the off-payroll working rules in the public sector; and
  • Exploring how best to tackle the continuing non-compliance with the rules in the private sector, including: setting out the existing challenges faced in conducting compliance activity for the off-payroll working rules in the private sector; and considering options to improve compliance, including seeking views on a possible next step of extending the public sector reform to the private sector and if so, how it might be adapted if this approach was pursued.

The closing date for comments on the consultation is 10 August 2018. It remains to be seen exactly what if any changes will be forthcoming and there is some anecdotal evidence that the public sector changes have not been as straightforward as HMRC expected. It will be interesting to see the responses to this consultation and what further steps the government will take which could have signification ramifications for those affected.