We have launched our coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) tool this week for the first stage of testing with unrepresented taxpayers. So far so good, everyone gets the basics. There is an enhanced version in the pipeline for those who struggle with averaging.

The House of Lords' final recommendations on its review of Off-Payroll Working might raise the odd eyebrow. It suggests that HMRC scraps IR35 in favour of ‘one of the simpler, less burdensome alternatives'. Having followed this topic closely for many years I must admit that I struggle to find anything simpler than deduction at source. Perhaps though a statutory employment test is the means to the final end. The Statutory Residence Test works well for determining tax residence, and it really is a tough call for HMRC to design a 'check employment status tool' that takes into account every single judge-made decision on employment status, there are so many decisions. And what else do with the Lords' request at the end of the report? They go on to recommend that the government design a 'short-term means of raising revenue that will not prove burdensome for businesses as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic'. I wonder what on earth they mean when they say, "will not prove burdensome".

The House of Lords committee was heavily lobbied by anti-IR35 groups and their report does not consider the wider impacts of the use of abusive tax avoidance schemes which have been such a fundamental feature of the contracting market over the last two decades and ultimately have to be the reason for the introduction of the extended Off-Payrolling rules. HMRC, whether by coincidence or not, has published the results of research conducted into that aspect this week too. That makes interesting reading: in total contrast to the Lord's review.

If you have any tax-specific queries, please post them up to our sister site, details are here: www.VtaxP.co.uk

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Nichola Ross Martin FCA CTA (Fellow)

Tax Director


Your Virtual Tax Partner® online PRACTICAL support for accountants, tax advisers BY accountants and tax advisers.

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Coronavirus Support

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Missed last time's Web-update?

Nichola's SME Tax W-update 23 April 2020

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