The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), has said that if a uniformly accepted definition of what being self-employed means was to be provided, it would introduce certainty to a lot of government reviews, including a new one that was recently announced.

IPSE thinks that such a definition would lead to joined-up thinking about the self-employed. The Office of Tax Simplification has been looking into the issue of self-employment, especially as it relates to the so-called gig economy. The OTS has produced a focus paper which the organisation hopes will promote debate on the tax issues that have arisen due to the new way that people work.

This latest investigation, which anyone may contribute to simply by sending comments, is at least the fourth such investigation into atypical working practices.

Previously produced reviews include a review of modern practices which looked at employment statuses; a review of tax arrangements which looked at workers who did the same job, but under different tax arrangements; the Future of Work inquiry which was set up to examine the rapidly changing nature of work and how it affects the status and rights of the workers including the self-employed, agency workers, and workers in the gig economy; and a consultation on incorporation.

Simon McVicker IPSE’s policy director said: “… there must be joined-up thinking from all government departments on how the 4.8 million people who work for themselves are treated.

“An agreed definition of self-employment is essential. Business and government need certainty over what self-employment is, otherwise confusion will remain.”