A new poll has found that most of the UK’s self-employed individuals are seemingly unprepared for the changes to off-payroll working rules – also known as IR35 – that are set to take effect from April.
As reported by LondonlovesBusiness and elsewhere, a survey of more than 500 self-employed people found that only 3% of respondents believed the looming changes should go ahead as planned from Tuesday 6th April 2021.
Indeed, in findings that will be of interest to both self-employed individuals and many businesses making use of payroll services in Plymouth and Wellington, 44% of those polled said the Government should delay the changes. Just 3% believed that the reform should proceed in April.
72% of contractors affected by the new rules also said that they were yet to make any preparations ahead of the April deadline.
Signs of a lack of awareness of IR35 reform among contractors
Once the changes come into law, it will be the responsibility of businesses to ascertain the IR35 status of self-employed people working through a company.
Organisations impacted by the change will include all of those in the public sector, as well as medium-sized and large organisations in the private and third sectors, which will be expected to not only determine contractors’ tax status, but also ensure the payment of the right employment taxes.
While not all self-employed workers will be subject to the new rules, there is concern about the extent to which many are unaware of their status, and whether and how they will be impacted by the changes.
Indeed, over a third (36%) of those questioned admitted they had not heard of the changes, while 31% said they were aware, but were unsure how they would potentially be impacted by them. A mere 14% of respondents stated that they were up to date with how they may be affected. 31% of those polled, however, claimed that the rule changes would not impact on them.
Just 32% of the research participants said they had actually taken any action so far. Many of those had either spoken to a tax adviser or researched the issue on the Internet, accounting for 11% each. Others had discussed the rule changes with HMRC (4%), while 4% had spoken to their clients, and 2% had reached out to their recruitment agency.
Largely negative emotions as the off-payroll reform nears
The survey participants were also quizzed on what emotions, if any, they associated with IR35. The most frequently-cited response was apathy (47%), with others mentioning confusion (27%), anxiety (18%) and stress (18%). It’s likely that many of these negative responses among respondents arose from concerns about how the reform would affect their income, with 17% stating that it would reduce their income.
Amid all of the pressures and anguish that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to self-employed workers over this past year, it’s very understandable that many of them are feeling less than positive towards the impending off-payroll changes.
Nonetheless, this is all the more reason for those who are uncertain about how they may be impacted by the new rules to seek out informed advice so that they can prepare.
Here at TS Partners, we have in-depth knowledge of the IR35 rules and their implications for contractors and businesses alike, and can therefore provide tailored support and guidance. To learn more about our IR35 advice for self-employed workers or business payroll services in Plymouth or Wellington, please do not wait any longer to contact our professional and friendly team.
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