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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 - enquiry from the engager

Enquiry from the Engager

If the enquiry results from contact by the engager the process outlined in the Engager flowchart  should be followed.

Where an engager asks for an opinion but there is insufficient information for the Employment Status Indicator (ESI) to provide one, the engager should be given details of the additional information which will need to be provided before an opinion can be given. Notify the customer of the ESI Reference Number, where appropriate, and advise them how to

  • self serve using the internet
  • post the information to the Employment Status Officer (ESO), or
  • contact the ESO with the information required.

Explain that it will not be necessary for them to visit the HMRC office and that where full information is forwarded to the status officer a written confirmation will be sent setting out the status opinion.

As engagements may have already commenced it is essential that an opinion is made quickly in order for the engager to take the appropriate actions.

Where exceptionally ESI is not available and a full opinion needs to be given the opinion letter must be signed by the Status Inspector. Refer to the appropriate Employment Status Customer Service (ESCS) Team in accordance with COG907260.

If the engager ceases to co-operate during this process a customer service opinion cannot be provided and no further action is required.


Opinion Provided

If the opinion is one of employment the engager must be advised to

  • register as an employer with us by contacting the New Employers Helpline - 0300 200 3211 (if not already registered)
  • make the correct deductions from their employees pay for income tax and national insurance contributions
  • complete the RTI starter checklist (or equivalent)
  • submit a Full Payment Submission (FPS) reporting year to date payment and deduction details.

Where the engager advises that the engagement commenced before the current year and makes an offer to pay the arrears the PAYE/NIC, Interest and Penalties recovered should be recorded as an Employer Amendment and claimed under broader coverage for compliance revenue purposes. Where no voluntary offer transpires details should be referred to RIS.

If the opinion is one of self-employed, the engager should bring this opinion to the attention of the worker or workers who should then register with us for self-employment by phoning 0300 200 3504 (if not already registered).

If the type of work they do falls within the construction industry scheme, the engager should also

  • make sure the worker is registered with HMRC for the construction industry scheme by phoning 0845 733 5588
  • check what deductions they need to make from the subcontractor’s payments this is dependent on the verification number - 10 digit with alpha suffix 30% deduction, 10 digit with no suffix 20% deduction
  • sign the declaration on their monthly return confirming that they have considered the employment status of those shown on that return and none of them are employees.