Contractors' Questions: Does using client kit affect IR35?
Contractor's Question: I'm contracting for a client where I use my own laptop to connect to their office network. The client is changing its policy on remote
access. In future computers used by staff or contractors to connect remotely to the office network must be a corporate owned laptop. If I use one of the client's corporate laptops does this have any implications under IR35?
Expert's Answer: Being required to supply and actually supplying your own equipment is a positive indicator of being in business. It also demonstrates financial costs and risks and is consequently a very good thing for IR35 purposes. However connecting to a client's network in this way has security risks and it is
common practice to have to use client kit in these circumstances.
No doubt HM Revenue & Customs would take the view that using client equipment helps to demonstrate an employment relationship. However using client equipment actually becomes a neutral point for IR35, as it is a requirement for both employees and contractors. Another positive aspect of your situation is that you have been granted remote access, which could suggest that you can undertake the services from your own premises. In turn this is a very good point when arguing against the issue of control.
In summary providing your own kit is a pointer away from IR35 but if you are unable to make such a provision then it becomes a neutral point.
The expert was Kate Cottrell, founder of Bauer & Cottrell, an IR35 advisory.
Editor's note: You may be interested in our IR35 calculator
Further reading: IR35 employment status factors - Equiptment