Business groups across the UK are uniting in opposition to new regulations from HMRC, which the groups claim will seriously disrupt the labour market by creating an excessive and unnecessary new layer of red tape.

The professional contracting community could be hit hard by the proposals as they stand, which require recruiters to collect, verify and report to the Revenue highly-sensitive information about self-employed workers, including independent professionals and limited company directors. All the groups concede that some degree of reporting is required; however, the groundswell of opinion amongst them is that HMRC’s proposals go well beyond what is required to ensure compliance with new onshore intermediaries legislation.

The administrative burden, the groups argue, will be enormous and will introduce needless risks in the handling of sensitive personal data, which include a freelancer’s national insurance number, gender and age. Freelancers who subcontract to another colleague will also be required to collect, verify and report the data.

The organisations uniting in opposition to the new proposals include IPSE (Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed), APSCo, REC and FCSA (Freelancer and Contractor Services Association).

REC chief executive Kevin Green pointed out that not only would the new regulations introduce a major challenge to recruiters, who may not have a direct relationship with the contractor or self-employed worker, but also they are entirely superfluous, as the government already collects much of the required data through RTI reports.

The groups are calling on the government to urgently review the new proposals with a view to fully removing the need for recruiters to report personal details.

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