Contractors’ Questions: What’s in an IR35 contract review?

Contractor’s Question: Are contract reviews for IR35 purposes a bit like IR35 insurance, in that there is a basic/cheaper and advanced/pricey option? Am I right in thinking the basic would be carried out over email and the phone, whereas the advanced might include a face-to-face consultation?

I ask because I’d want to explain my working practice with an advisor fully, before they came to a conclusion on my IR35 status. My concern is that I’m a bit strapped for cash at the moment and that merely emailing the arrangements I have with the client to an IR35 contract review expert would result in an ‘inside-IR35’ conclusion. Whereas if I explained my working practice in person – or if the advisor visited me to actually see my working reality – I think that this would result in an ‘outside-IR35’ conclusion.   

Expert’s Answer: I can’t speak for other IR35 specialists, but we certainly provide two levels of review. Our Contract Assessment service (£40 + VAT) provides a basic ‘pass or fail’ overview of the contract, along with a list of any necessary amendments. Our Full Review product is far more in depth and provides a detailed clause-by-clause analysis, plus a review of your actual working practices.

We will regularly talk to contractors over the phone before completing the review - this is fairly common and all included in the service. Obviously there are many grey areas in IR35, so it’s often worth having a discussion about the key points before making any decisions.

Meeting face-to-face is rarer, but we are obviously happy to do so if the contractor feels it is necessary. This wouldn’t be covered by our standard off-the-shelf products though, so we’d have to have a chat about exactly what would be required beforehand.

The expert was Seb Maley, director at employment status specialists Qdos Consulting.