Lewis predicts IR35 reform at Budget 2018

A BBC presenter who gave evidence to MPs about Personal Service Companies says to expect the public sector’s IR35 changes getting extended to the private sector at Budget 2018.

Paul Lewis, a Radio 4 host, wrote in the Financial Times that in light of 2017’s IR35 reform to make public engagers liable, “now the Treasury wants” to do the same with private engagers.   

In his viewpoint piece for the newspaper, he said: “Expect an extension of the liability rules to the private sector in the Budget this autumn with big projected savings from 2019/20.”

His prediction chimes with what most contactors believe is going to happen.

In a recent poll for Qdos, 76% of PSCs said they expected private sector IR35 reform to be announced this year.

Like Lewis, the PSCs bet an announcement this year will lead to commencement next year but, since Spring Statement, April 2020 has been floated as the more realistic rollout month.  

Contractors may not agree with Lewis as closely about his evidence to MPs last month.

Asked if he had covered IR35 on BBC Money Box, which he anchors, he implied he had not.

“If Money Box were to do it”, said Lewis, a sole trader, “I’m not saying I wouldn’t be allowed to; I’m saying I wouldn’t do it because it would be hard for me to say I was being impartial.”

In November, Money Box did a nine-minute segment covering CEST, PSCs and IR35 reform in the private sector, in which Lewis presented, editorialised and interviewed three guests.

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