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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

Procedural aspects of status cases: written opinions

An opinion should always be provided in writing and should cover both the NICs and tax aspects of the case. The opinion should be drafted in standard format as set out in ESM0109 or ESM0110 below.

When giving an opinion, you should take into account all of the facts available to you. Careful handling of the case and clear explanations will save work by reducing the potential for disagreements and complaints.

There may be circumstances where the employment status query relates solely to either the NICs position only or the tax position only and there is no dispute about the other treatment. This might arise where, for example, the tax position is accepted but there is a dispute over whether specific NICs regulations apply (see ESM0122). In these circumstances, you should limit your written opinion to the specific aspect under consideration.

Opinions, which take account of all the relevant facts and law and have been carefully considered, should not normally differ from any subsequent formal action used to resolve a dispute. To avoid any such differences, where there is doubt about a case and it seems likely that the matter will go to appeal, it may be worth checking with the Status Inspector before giving an opinion.

See ESM0112 with regard to requests for advice on written contracts.