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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: status: fact finding

You should be aware of the guidance in the Employment Status Manual (ESM) atESM0501 onwards. In addition leaflets ES/FS 1 (worker) and ES/FS2 (engager) (available via ) provide further useful information. COG907510 explains the background to determining status.

Status should always be addressed as soon as the risk becomes evident.

Where you identify a risk from either the ‘Talk Through’ or the ‘Walk Through’ (COG905080) and, if as a result of initial questioning there is doubt about the worker(s) employment status, you should

  • question the engager to establish the facts of the engagement in accordance with ESM0558 
  • examine any contracts or other documentation held by the engager
  • question the worker(s) (COG907550) to establish the facts of the engagement in accordance with ESM0558 
  • examine any contracts or other documentation held by the worker(s)
  • consider the possibility that a Regulation 72F direction may be appropriate (COG915245 onwards), and
  • arrange to have the worker’s SA record noted (COG915290).

You must not ask the engager or the worker questions about each other that they cannot be expected to know.

Where more than one worker is involved see COG907560.

Where the engager states that the subject has previously been resolved see COG907590.

Where you encounter delays or objections in trying to obtain the facts you should refer the case to:

  • Employment Status & Intermediaries (ES&I) see COG907600 
  • the Status Inspector (LBS)
  • to consider the use of Sch36 powers (CH20000)