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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: status: questioning the worker

Facts should normally be obtained from the engager and the worker. If you think it is inappropriate to question the worker you should consult:

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

You can only question the worker on the engager’s premises if the engager consents to it. Alternatively the worker can be interviewed off site with the workers agreement.

Various points must be covered when contacting a worker. It is good practice to write to the worker advising him/her of the purpose of a meeting using the standard letter EC27 available in SEES.

The employment status of a worker may have an impact on their SA return therefore you must make it clear that the purpose of the questioning is not to enquire into any SA return they have made, and

  • explain that the questions are being asked to ascertain the correct status in checking whether the engager has correctly operated PAYE and NIC.

Where a 64-8 is held you should make it clear to the worker that he may wish to notify his accountant.

Remember you do not have any powers that allow you to interview the worker. You must make it clear that the worker’s cooperation will help progress the issue.

However you should also make it clear that HMRC does have the powers to enable us to obtain information. This is by way of

  • Sch 36 FA 2008.

When concluding any meetings/discussions you must

  • make sure that full notes of meeting are kept including a record to show that the purpose of the questioning was made clear (COG905290, ESM0114).

It is important that any worker who may be a potential witness at an appeal hearing in relation to status is kept regularly informed of progress.