Warning / Advice on Potentially Fake 'Outside IR35' Contracts Warning / Advice on Potentially Fake 'Outside IR35' Contracts
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  1. #1

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    Default Warning / Advice on Potentially Fake 'Outside IR35' Contracts

    I've been offered a role which I have been told all along was outside of IR35.

    I'm just gonna do this post as a list of events / concerns which have occurred with this role, firstly as a warning to other contractors (as I think this is a pretty dodgy situation), but also to get your views of what is actually going on here and how problematic a situation others think this is.

    I've seen a similar thread where others just say "be grateful for winning an outside IR35 role and just sign it", but tbh I think that is terrible advice.


    So here goes.

    Potential Fake 'Outside IR35' Contracts

    Watch out for:

    - You're told the contract is outside IR35
    - You're interviewed by no-one with any senior decision making responsibility
    - No-one at the client company will have a direct discussion with you about working practices, and the agent constantly dodges it
    - The IR35 Determination has not been shared on e-mail with you (only verbal assurances given)
    - There is no confirmation of working practices via e-mail
    - There is no mention in writing to you which refers to the contract being outside IR35
    - The contract contains clauses via which the contractor indemnifies the agency against any future HMRC inside-IR35 determination
    - (and the Client is likely protected via their contract, so in effect you indemnify the Client and pay the Client's PAYE deductions in this event)

    Behaviourally

    The Agency put their 'nicest' person between you and the client when you start to ask questions, who assures you it's all alright, they're IR35 experts, and it's all been vetted and is all tickety-boo... tells you you've misread the indemnification clauses, hurries you to sign, and finally threatens to pull the contract if you continue to insist the client clarifies working practices.

    - The original agent who I discussed this role with has gone off 'long term sick'
    - The hiring manager was off sick 'very poorly' when I arrived for my interview (no advance notice of this from the agency, receptionist told me on arrival) – yet was back at work two days later.
    - The hiring manager is not willing to discuss working practices with me on the phone, despite being the one who will be upset if I'm not working according to his expectations
    - This will be the first time I've been hired without either speaking with or meeting with a hiring manager - I'm not comfortable with that
    - The agent thinks I'm being 'unprofessional' for wanting to get down to brass tacks and discuss specifics in a direct manner
    - The agent thinks I'm being paranoid for noting that there is no written confirmation of the outside IR35 determination, including in the offer e-mail, that their indemnification clauses attempt to pass the buck onto me, and that the client doesn't want to discuss working practices before I arrive on site
    - I'm being pressured into signing the contract by the agent every time we speak, with no progress on seeing the determination nor any advance knowledge of working practices

    There's lots of slipperiness going on here, and my own view of this situation is that there's a potential tactic here of dangling an outside IR35 role at a contractor, whilst the reality on the ground will be inside IR35; this whole situation being a client-friendly fudge of the current IR35 situation and a method of getting an inside IR35 resource on the cheap.


    That's my concern from where I'm sat.

    What do you lot reckon?


    Also interested to know if anyone else is experiencing this, too. That'll be two of us from what I can see from recent posts.
    Last edited by ElDuderino; 6th March 2020 at 21:06.

  2. #2

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    So agents might be lying? No way. All agents anyone on these boards have come across are always above board and honest.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrilloPad View Post
    So agents might be lying? No way. All agents anyone on these boards have come across are always above board and honest.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElDuderino View Post
    I've been offered a role which I have been told all along was outside of IR35.

    I'm just gonna do this post as a list of events / concerns which have occurred with this role, firstly as a warning to other contractors (as I think this is a pretty dodgy situation), but also to get your views of what is actually going on here and how problematic a situation others think this is.

    I've seen a similar thread where others just say "be grateful for winning an outside IR35 role and just sign it", but tbh I think that is terrible advice.
    I only said that because he has a determination and even then we said get it in writing from both the agent and end client.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElDuderino View Post
    So here goes.

    Potential Fake 'Outside IR35' Contracts

    Watch out for:

    - You're told the contract is outside IR35
    - You're interviewed by no-one with any senior decision making responsibility
    - No-one at the client company will have a direct discussion with you about working practices, and the agent constantly dodges it
    - The IR35 Determination has not been shared on e-mail with you (only verbal assurances given)
    - There is no confirmation of working practices via e-mail
    - There is no mention in writing to you which refers to the contract being outside IR35
    - The contract contains clauses via which the contractor indemnifies the agency against any future HMRC inside-IR35 determination
    - (and the Client is likely protected via their contract, so in effect you indemnify the Client and pay the Client's PAYE deductions in this event)

    Behaviourally

    The Agency put their 'nicest' person between you and the client when you start to ask questions, who assures you it's all alright, they're IR35 experts, and it's all been vetted and is all tickety-boo... tells you you've misread the indemnification clauses, hurries you to sign, and finally threatens to pull the contract if you continue to insist the client clarifies working practices.

    - The original agent who I discussed this role with has gone off 'long term sick'
    - The hiring manager was off sick 'very poorly' when I arrived for my interview (no advance notice of this from the agency, receptionist told me on arrival) – yet was back at work two days later.
    - The hiring manager is not willing to discuss working practices with me on the phone, despite being the one who will be upset if I'm not working according to his expectations
    - This will be the first time I've been hired without either speaking with or meeting with a hiring manager - I'm not comfortable with that
    - The agent thinks I'm being 'unprofessional' for wanting to get down to brass tacks and discuss specifics in a direct manner
    - The agent thinks I'm being paranoid for noting that there is no written confirmation of the outside IR35 determination, including in the offer e-mail, that their indemnification clauses attempt to pass the buck onto me, and that the client doesn't want to discuss working practices before I arrive on site
    - I'm being pressured into signing the contract by the agent every time we speak, with no progress on seeing the determination nor any advance knowledge of working practices

    There's lots of slipperiness going on here, and my own view of this situation is that there's a potential tactic here of dangling an outside IR35 role at a contractor, whilst the reality on the ground will be inside IR35; this whole situation being a client-friendly fudge of the current IR35 situation and a method of getting an inside IR35 resource on the cheap.


    That's my concern from where I'm sat.

    What do you lot reckon?


    Also I'm very keen to know if anyone else is experiencing this, too. That'll be two of us from what I can see from recent posts.
    You are missing 2 very simple tricks here

    1) explain that the contract only makes sense if you can claim travel costs, that you can only claim those expenses if the contract is outside IR35 and that until you see the final SDS determination you are not signing any contract nor starting work.

    2) And the reality is that you cannot sign the contract - if the contract is outside IR35, you as the director of your company need to sign it and the contract is to your company, if it is inside IR35 you as an individual need to sign it and your PSC is irrelevant.

    So there you go, 2 plausible reasons why you need a determination before you can do anything.
    Last edited by eek; 6th March 2020 at 19:51.
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  5. #5

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    I have to say, a lot of those tactics were in force before the forthcoming changes.

    Not really anything new going on other than you've noticed it more because you're doing a different level of due diligence.

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    I think you are reading too much in to this. You have a copy of the contract, get it checked by QDOS and if it passes request a copy of the determination before you sign and just wait.

    Nothing much different than the standard gig with an incompetent agent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladymuck View Post
    I have to say, a lot of those tactics were in force before the forthcoming changes.

    Not really anything new going on other than you've noticed it more because you're doing a different level of due diligence.
    But as I've just updated my post to say - there are now 2 valid reasons which you can / could use to justify a determination now. The direction of the contract (Limited Company and Director if outside / individual if inside) should show to even the least sharp agency that they need to be truthful.
    merely at clientco for the entertainment

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    I think you are reading too much in to this. You have a copy of the contract, get it checked by QDOS and if it passes request a copy of the determination before you sign and just wait.

    Nothing much different than the standard gig with an incompetent agent.
    So one can do this without asking ones accountant first?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by eek View Post
    But as I've just updated my post to say - there are now 2 valid reasons which you can / could use to justify a determination now. The direction of the contract (Limited Company and Director if outside / individual if inside) should show to even the least sharp agency that they need to be truthful.
    I was being more general

    But, yes, good points on the ways to challenge such shenanigans

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