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HMRC seeks assistance from APSCo members on false self employment

In APSCo’s response to the draft legislation early this month, the trade body raised several key concerns which, it believes, will result in unintended consequences, unquantifiable risk, and administrative burden for its members unless significant changes are made.  APSCo’s main area of concern is that the recruitment industry is being asked to drive compliance with no assurance that their behaviour will give them a legal defence in the face of unscrupulous behaviour by other intermediaries, over which they have no control.

In its response, APSCo strongly urged HMRC to consider including the following within the final legislation:

•             statutory guidance on the compliance actions a recruitment firm should take

•             a statutory defence in the event that they undertake such appropriate compliance checks

•             a definition of personal service company (“PSC”)

This week’s Onshore, Offshore, Unsure? event, which included a panel discussion featuring Sarah Radford of HMRC and John Chaplin of EY, illustrated that the Government is listening to at least some of the concerns raised in APSCo’s response to the draft legislation.  Sarah Radford confirmed to attendees that HMRC would be providing guidance, probably in early March, which would give recruitment firms greater assistance on what compliance checks they will need to make.

Sarah went on to say that HMRC would be increasing the number of examples and scenarios it provides to help staffing companies gauge the level of control, supervision and direction when trying to establish genuine self-employment, and she called on APSCo members to provide HMRC with real-life scenarios, which it can use in its guidance.

Commenting on this week’s event, APSCo’s Head of External Relations, Samantha Hurley comments:

“We are extremely pleased and grateful for HMRC’s continued willingness to engage with APSCo, and it’s great that our members are being given the opportunity to input into HMRC’s guidance.   We will continue to engage with HMRC regarding this issue and are strongly advising our members to contact us with the real life scenarios HMRC has asked for.”


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