Off-payroll rules' extension 'is PSCs' top concern'

An extension of the public sector’s off-payroll rules to the private sector is contractors’ biggest fear, a survey shows.

In fact, 48 per cent of contractors say they are concerned that changes made to IR35 in April will soon be rolled out to all PSCs.

That makes it contractors’ top concern, behind those worried about competition for work (18%), and ‘other’ issues like Brexit (7%), despite an extension not being a proposal.

“HMRC still staunchly stick to the ‘there are no plans to roll this out in the private sector’ line”, said Seb Maley, chief executive of Qdos, which ran the survey.

“And there have been no statements from any government body, official or otherwise, to contradict this. [But] having two different systems running at the same time is clearly problematic and, to an extent, nonsensical.”

Asked whether they would be deterred from contracting if the April IR35 reforms were extended to the private sector, 36% -- the largest chunk of respondents -- said they would not be.

However, almost a third would “consider” permanent employment; about a fifth would explore a "different career to contracting," further to the one in 10 who would look at other options, such as emigrating or retiring early.

“This sends a clear, strong signal to government that reform to private sector IR35 should be avoided,” Mr Maley said. “[But] the view of most in the industry, myself included, is that such a move is inevitable.”

Aug 17, 2017