The Professional Contractors’ Group (PCG) has conducted a survey amongst its members on what will influence their vote in the next General Election. IR35 is top of the agenda with 91 per cent of members claiming that they would vote for a party whose manifesto included the abolishment of the contentious tax rule.

Managing Director of PCG, John Brazier said, “This confirms just how damaging IR35 has been. There are an estimated 1.4 million business-to-business freelancers alone in the UK.”

He continued, “As the parties draw up their manifestos, they cannot fail to take notice of this level of discord – nine out of ten of our members have essentially stated it will affect the way they vote. IR35 is a restrictive, unworkable and unfair regulation and it’s high time for a fairer taxation system to be developed for freelancers.”

The survey also examined members’ views on the current economic climate and HMRC. Only 19 per cent expected the economy to improve in the near future and 46 per cent expected their own financial situation to worsen.

Brazier commented, “These figures serve to underline the serious times we are now in. It is more important than ever for any future government to commit to helping freelancers as, ultimately they will have a key part to play in the UK’s economic recovery. With the specialist, flexible knowledge based skills they provide, freelancers are essential in securing the UK’s financial prosperity.”

On HMRC, only 4 per cent of PCG members described the department as transparent while less than a fifth thought that HMRC provided ‘competent advice’.

John Brazier said, “It is a real shame that we cannot have a tax authority that respects the needs of the UK’s smallest businesses and in turn wins the respect of freelancers throughout the UK. These figures highlight major problems with the way in which freelancers are treated. Legitimate freelancers find it difficult to seek reliable, useful advice from HMRC on how they run their businesses and instead find themselves under suspicion at every turn.”

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