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IR35 reforms update: HMRC ploughs on regardless

Autumn Budget

Statement from FCSA CEO, Julia Kermode


Yesterday the government discussed the 2020 Finance Bill and the planned off-payroll changes due in 2021 were given airtime including David Davis’ amendment which proposed delaying off-payroll reform to 2023-24. 

I watched the debate and there were many sensible points raised by very credible MPs including David Davis, Sir Ed Davey, Meg Hillier, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and Alison Thewliss, SNP’s Shadow Treasury Spokesperson to mention just a few of the key supporters.  The debate came about just 4 weeks after the House of Lords published their damning report into the off-payroll reforms, which was instantly rejected by Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, as he announced the following day that the legislation changes would be proceeding as planned.  

So it is hardly surprising that yesterday, Mr Norman yet again rejected all of the valid points as he has made it his mission to plough on anyway.  However, there is considerable evidence against this course of action which ultimately may bring untold damage to the economy at its historically weakest point, so I hope that Jesse Norman makes time to properly read and consider the House of Lords report which is a very eloquent and compelling summary of all the issues. 

In recent years, we have seen HMRC push ahead many times with their own agenda for fundamentally flawed legislation and with arrogant disregard for compelling evidence of the damage that will result.  However, there are two further opportunities for the 2020 Finance Bill to be influenced and the supportive MPs will use these to the best of their abilities – they were very impressive yesterday and must not be ignored.  We know that off-payroll reforms will damage the very workforce that the economy relies on and I am deeply concerned that this is happening yet again – we simply cannot afford for the UK’s financial recovery to be impaired in any way and it is unthinkable for the government to consider ploughing on regardless.