Last chance for the 'IR35-interested' to answer Finance Bill's public call for evidence

Contractors with ‘relevant experience’ of IR35 are being implored to respond to the Finance Bill’s call for evidence on provisions to reform it, by emailing their say before today’s close.

Directing submissions to an inbox, the Self-Employed Alliance said contractors should spell out how the rule has hit them; how it will hit them, and how the bill ought to change as a result.

Submissions can be anonymous; should have numbered paragraphs, a short personal intro and must be received before “close of business” to make a meeting on Thursday, said SEA.

'Obstructing democracy'

But beyond the technical requirements (which extend to a maximum of 3,000 words in MS Word), the alliance says there is a much bigger issue with the bill which PSCs cannot affect.

“Only 50 MPs allowed to vote [is] obstructing democracy,” says SEA’s Kirti S, reflecting on Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s announcement to cap House of Commons members due to covid-19.

The campaigner added: “We all understand [the need for social distancing requirements meaning] only 50 MPs can be in the chambers….but why can't the rest vote remotely?”

'Further updated guidance for agencies'

The subtext is that contractors are more likely to secure what many want – an amendment to the bill to delay IR35 reform, if it’s well-supported and not left to a sample of just 50 MPs.

But it’s not just contractors. Knowing that its members stand to be affected too, APSCo said on Friday that it had ‘further updated its guidance based on the latest amendments to the bill.’

Like contractors, agencies easily qualify for the Finance Bill Scrutiny Unit’s criteria that it seeks evidence from those with “relevant expertise and experience” or “special interest” on “matters contained within” the bill.

'Supporting explanation'

“Factual information of which you would like the committee to be aware” is invited, said the unit, referring to members of the public bill committee.

“Your submission could most usefully suggest amendments to the bill, with supporting explanation,” it said, requesting contact details and phone number but no page numbers.

Referring to the anonymity opt-in, and one for non-publication, the unit added:“ [Your] evidence will be circulated to all committee members to inform their consideration of the bill.”

“Take a break from the sun, pop open your laptop and provide your evidence,” added the newsletter IR35 Weekly, offering a few directions of its own.

'Personal impact statements'

“Get your IR35 personal impact statements [in now],” agreed a ‘Stop IR35’ campaigner, reaching out to her followers on Twitter.

“Those impacted by IR35 reform need to submit personal impact statements…[as the] bill’s now at committee stage [with the] scrutiny unit, which is calling the public for evidence.”

In with the campaigner’s reading, the first meeting for the bill’s committee stage is scheduled for Thursday June 4, and the last for Thursday June 25. Yet today's the day for contractors to speak  up.

'Voting with my feet'

“[Before] the deadline of close of business on Monday June 1st… email your IR35 impact statements to [the] scrutiny unit on  scrutiny@parliament.uk with the subject heading ‘Finance Bill Committee Evidence Submission,’” appealed the SEA.

However not all contractors will. Tweeting just as a petition to “revoke the IR35 legislation” was attracting just 1,500 of the desired 10,000 or 100,000 signatures, one contractor reflected: “[With] IR35, I [just] don't agree so I am leaving the UK in 4 weeks, voting with my feet.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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