Future IR35 under threat as HMRC doctors research

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HMRC has admitted that information was omitted from published research. This research concerned the introduction of IR35 into the private sector and HMRC admitted that the information that was omitted could impede the introduction of IR35 into the private sector.

HMRC made its admission after it received a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from ContractorCalculator. In its response, HMRC admitted that it had removed information that had been in earlier drafts of the IFF Research report “Off-Payroll Reform in the Public Sector”.

HMRC insisted that earlier drafts do not have to be disclosed, but the admission that information had been removed from later drafts raised questions about whether this was contributing to a misleading view of the potential impact of the Off-Payroll rules to the private sector.

The final report was based on data which was collected two years ago. The data focused on a small part of the public sector during the early period of the implementation. Recruitment agencies and freelancers were not consulted, but despite this, it has been relied on heavily by HMRC and the Treasury in order to vindicate their proposals to introduce the rules into the private sector.

Dave Chaplin, ContractorCalculator’s CEO, said: “The omitted findings are obviously significant and somewhat contentious or else HMRC wouldn’t consider their disclosure potentially damaging to its intention to introduce the Off-Payroll rules to the private sector. HMRC has provided its reasons for omitting the information. However, the duplicitous manner with which HMRC has conducted itself in attempting to force through the Off-Payroll rules, along with the report’s ultimate conclusions, lead us to suspect that there may be more to it.”