Contractors' Questions: Do recruiters require my address and UTR?

Contractor’s Question: I am starting a new IT contract through an umbrella company. But the recruitment agency says that it (the agency) is now required by HM Revenue & Customs to keep my National Insurance (NI) number and Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) on file. The agency also says it requires my home address. Do I really need to provide these three pieces of information? I’ve never had to before.

Expert’s Answer: Draft legislation has been laid before parliament relating to what’s known as the new reporting requirements for employment intermediaries (such as agencies). These are expected to come into force from April 6th 2015.

As a result, all intermediaries, including recruitment agencies, will have to report details of workers they place with clients where they do not operate PAYE.

This means each business is now responsible for sending the report to HMRC, with the following information:

  • the intermediaries full name, address and postcode
  • the worker’s personal details
  • the engagement and payment details

With regards to the worker’s personal details, this includes the worker’s full name, address and postcode, and their National Insurance Number. If for any reason this is not available, they must provide the worker’s date of birth and gender.

You would only need to provide your Unique Taxpayer Reference if you were self-employed or a member of a partnership, so working through an umbrella you would not be required to provide such information.

The agency will be under a statutory obligation to report this information, and they will be subject to fines for submitting incomplete reports, so refusing to provide it could jeopardise your contract.

The agency is also legally required to keep records and data that prove their reports are correct for three years after the tax year that they relate to.

The expert was Lucy Smith of Contractor Umbrella.

Monday 30th March 2015