Contractors' Questions: What if I can't use the client's on-site car park?

Contractor’s Question: I’m a contractor staying away from home whose client refuses to allow contractors to use the on-site car park as “it wouldn’t reflect the IR35 regulations.’ Unlike permies, we have to park publically - 15minutes by foot or 10-20minutes by inter-site bus. Can I bill for my time from the car park to the client office and back to the car park? And if I’m not ‘on the clock,’ am I covered under their insurance policy while riding the bus?

Expert’s Answer: There are no proscriptive IR35 regulations dealing with parking. However, various judgments have confirmed that a contractor's employment status in respect of the IR35 legislation may be adversely affected by receiving benefits usually reserved for the end-client's employees, as this would suggest a degree of integration

The question of invoicing for time spent commuting from a public car park to the end-client's premises depends entirely on the contract. Ordinarily, contractors may only invoice for time spent actually providing the services (excluding travelling), and to claim otherwise incurs the risk of a claim for breach of contract and criminal charges for fraud. Expenses, such as travelling, may be claimed separately but entitlement to tax relief will change after April 1st 2016.

Lastly, in respect of insurance, an independent contractor would normally be responsible for providing their own insurance, so the answer to your question on that issue would depend entirely on the drafting of the insurance policy as to the moment the cover becomes effective.

The expert was Martyn Valentine, managing director of The Law Place.

Monday 22nd February 2016