Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: status: the employment status indicator tool

The Employment Status Indicator Tool is an electronic tool for use in determining the status of workers.

The ESI tool will provide an opinion on the status of a worker or group of workers by using information that reflects the facts of the engagement.

You should fact find in all cases where status is in doubt (ESM0558). Once the facts have been established you must use the ESI tool to obtain an opinion in all cases with the following exceptions:

  • Personal Service Company workers
  • Agency workers
  • Entertainers or workers in the TV and Film Industries
  • Office Holders (such as company directors and certain other individuals who are appointed to a post).

If you have any difficulty in operating the ESI tool consult

  • Specialist Employer Compliance (SEC)
  • the Status Inspector in LBS cases.

You may not be able to use the ESI tool to the full extent in cases that are:

  • complex
  • contentious
  • contradictory or
  • where the ESI tool is unable to provide an opinion.

In such circumstances you should:

  • consider all of the facts
  • form an opinion on the workers status, and
  • seek advice from

    • SEC
    • the Status Inspector in LBS cases.

If SEC/Status Inspector (LBS) agrees with your opinion they will:

  • return the papers for you to

    • issue an opinion letter in accordance with ESM0109, ESM0110, for approval and signature (COG907570, COG907600).

If SEC/Status Inspector (LBS) does not agree with your opinion they will

  • return the papers with guidance on how to proceed.