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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: Employment Status & Intermediaries (ES&I): customer service - status - background

Status opinions are given by HMRC as part of its customer service role. Code of Practice (COP) 10 outlines the information required before an opinion can be given. ‘Customer service’ relies on the co-operation of the individual and any information provided is done so voluntarily.

A Status Opinion provided to an engager (or their representative) following the provision of full and accurate facts is a binding decision by HMRC, and engagers who fail to follow the opinion may be subject to compliance intervention. Similarly, engagers are entitled to rely on the Employment Status Indicator (ESI) opinion as binding on HMRC where full and accurate facts have been provided.

A Status View provided to a worker cannot be implemented by the worker. Where it is brought to the attention of the engager by the worker and they fail to implement the View or to contact HMRC for clarification they may be subject to a compliance intervention.

The Employment Status Indicator (ESI) (Word 31kb) is HMRC’s tool to help determine employment status, and gives our customers access to consistent advice on status.

Initial Point of Contact

The initial point of contact for a Customer Service status enquiry is via the Department Customer Contact Strategy.

Any customer contacting Employment Status & Intermediaries (ES&I) regarding status should be dealt with as follows.

  1. If a customer requires information on the ESI tool or wishes to check their status online they should be directed to the HMRC website. The internet will give a status view not a status opinion.
  2. If the customer does not have internet access and works within the Construction Industry Scheme they should be referred to the New CIS Helpline (Tel: 0300 200 3210).
  3. If the customer does not have internet access, does not work within the Construction Industry or works within the Construction Industry scheme and does not want to speak to the CIS helpline by phone they should be treated as a customer service enquiry and dealt with by the ES&I using the guidance at COG907280 and COG907290.