With three weeks left until the Autumn Statement, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has issued a clarion call to all freelancing and contracting professionals who may be affected by HMRC’s proposed public sector IR35 reforms, urging them to contact their MPs and call on the Government to ditch the planned changes.

Describing the Government’s intention to change the way that independent professionals contracting in the public sector are taxed as a catastrophe, IPSE’s Press and Policy Adviser, Nick Walton, extended his gratitude to those contractors who have already campaigned with the trade body by writing to their MPs and using the Twitter hashtag #UnfairIR35. But, as he said: “It’s not over yet.”

Reminding contractors that there are still several weeks to go before the Autumn Statement, he invited them to write to their MPs now and set out clearly how the planned reforms will affect their livelihoods and what they wish the MPs to do about it.

The proposed measures have been roundly condemned by a wide range of industry experts as unfair, unworkable and liable to concoct an unjust practice of forcing public sector contractors to pay the same tax as employees even though they will receive none of the statutory employment benefits that these workers enjoy. These include paid holiday leave, employer pension contributions, sick pay and maternity and paternity leave.

The proposals have been severely criticised not only by IPSE but also by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Umbrella Company trade associations PRISM and the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) and Umbrella Company group Unitum. As Mr Walton noted, even HMRC researchers themselves consider the reforms flawed and unfair.

IPSE’s advice to contractors on writing the MPs a letter is available here. Mr Walton said that using it to convey concerns in their own words as individualised letters may have a greater impact.

He also suggested to contractors that they “Take it one step further and meet with your MP.” They usually leave Parliament at the end of the week to return to their constituencies, where they hold advice surgeries for individual constituents over the weekend. The office addresses of local MPs can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps or www.writetothem.com.

Mr Walton concluded: “IPSE is doing all it can to fight this proposal. And by the looks of it, so are all of you. We’ve received an overwhelming number of responses already, so let’s keep this up and leave this Government in no doubt of how damaging the reform will be. Take a stand with IPSE, and let’s ensure the Government abandons this proposal.”

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