Prepare for changes to the off-payroll working rules (IR35) for clients

Find out how to prepare for changes to the off-payroll working rules if you engage contractors working through their own limited company.

The changes to the off-payroll rules due to come into effect on 6 April 2020 have now been delayed until April 2021. This is because of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is to help businesses and individuals deal with the economic impact of coronavirus.

This is a delay to the introduction of the changes and is not a cancellation.

What will change

From 6 April 2021 the:

  • rules for engaging individuals through personal service companies or other intermediaries are changing
  • responsibility for working out if the off-payroll working rules (IR35) apply will move to the organisation receiving an individual’s services

You should make sure you understand:

  • the impact of the changes on your organisation
  • actions you might need to take before the changes come in

Before you apply the new rules

Before you apply the new rules you should check what HMRC support is available to help you understand the rules. Finance, HR and recruiting managers will also need to understand the changes.

Steps you may need to take

1. Look at your current workforce

This includes those engaged through employment agencies.

  1. Identify individuals who are supplying their services through their own limited company (sometimes known as a personal service company) or other intermediary.

  2. Put in place processes to identify future individuals who work in this way.

2. Talk to individuals and agencies you engage with

  1. You may need information from them on some engagements.

  2. Share the contractor factsheet to help your contractors understand how the changes may affect them.

3. Determine if the off-payroll working arrangements apply

  1. Check if the rules apply for any contracts that will extend beyond, or start after 6 April 2021.

  2. Decide who in your organisation should make an employment determination.

  3. You can use HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) service to make determinations.

  4. Look at escalations for difficult cases.

  5. Make a determination ahead of April 2021 - as long as the information remains correct.

4. After you’ve determined if the rules apply

  1. You’ll need to tell the contractor (and any agency you engage with) the outcome.

  2. Use a Status Determination Statement (SDS) to tell them.

5. Who will operate PAYE

  1. Consider if you or an agency will have to operate PAYE.

  2. If you’ll need to operate PAYE, put in place processes to make sure the correct Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) are deducted for engagements inside the rules from 6 April 2021.

6. Dealing with disagreements

You’ll need to set up a process to deal with any disagreements about the employment status determination. This is a legal requirement.

7. Keep records

You’ll need to make sure you maintain a robust audit trail. It is a legal requirement to keep records.

8. Test your processes

You’ll need to test your processes, systems and controls to make sure you’re ready.

9. Changing working practices and contracts

You should follow the processes you’ve set up to revisit status decisions and make new ones if you:

  • change working practices
  • change contractual arrangements
  • renew contracts
  • create new contracts

You can find more information about the April 2021 changes for off-payroll working and who it affects.

Published 15 April 2019
Last updated 21 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have removed advice and links to the consultation paper ‘Off-payroll working rules from April 2021’ as this information is now out of date. We have added some further steps you may need to take to prepare for the rule changes.

  2. Information added confirming the off-payroll rules due to come into effect on 6 April 2020 have been delayed until April 2021. This is to help businesses and individuals deal with the economic impact of COVID-19.

  3. The guidance has been updated to reflect the changes to how the off-payroll working rules will be applied from 6 April 2020.

  4. First published.