The latest meeting of the IR35 Forum has now taken place after being postponed from its original date on 18th January to permit extra time for additional work by HMRC on reform.

While PAYE umbrella contractors have little to be concerned about over the policing of IR35, many contractors working through limited companies are exceptionally wary about HMRC’s previous management of the regulations. The Forum was created in the wake of last year’s Budget after the Chancellor decided to retain the controversial rules but improve the administration by the Revenue.

In addition to officials from the HMRC, the Forum also includes representatives from the contracting and recruiting world, such as the PCG and REC, as well as employment status and accountancy boffins. So far, the Forum has agreed that HMRC should target its policing of IR35 on high risk cases rather than adopt a generalised suspicion that limited company contractors are up to no good. Dedicated IR35 teams are scheduled to be set up by the Revenue to ensure this and to reduce the protracted periods over which investigations can drag on.

The REC’s Gillian Econopouly, who attended the latest meeting, said: “The work of the IR35 Forum is ongoing, and the REC will continue to actively represent the views of the recruitment industry in the run up to the 6th April deadline when the Government will formally adopt changes to how the IR35 regime is administered.”

The minutes of the last meeting have not yet been published, but the signs appear to be that the full package of proposals for reform will be in the bag by the April deadline. Watch this space.

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