Light-touch approach will make tax changes easier for firms but businesses still need to prepare properly or risk facing non-compliance charges, says Victoria Roythorne

Roythorne Victoria

For such a complicated piece of legislation, the HMRC’s confirmation of a “light-touch” approach to IR35 is welcomed. Most businesses have been working tirelessly to prepare for the change and it is only right that they are not held to ransom for genuine mistakes that may be inevitably made in the assessment process. It is a positive and respectful decision for companies and contractors alike, and reflects the HMRC’s understanding of the ongoing uncertainty, in part due to the delay in the spring Budget and the lack of detailed information.

But businesses must not mistake this soft period as a get-out clause. HMRC has been clear that deliberate non-compliance will still be targeted under the light-touch approach and failure to prepare adequately could be self-sabotage.

Being receptive to a flexible workforce could be game-changing

The silver lining of IR35 for many businesses has been the opportunity to take a broader view of their talent community. Being receptive to a flexible workforce made of different engagement models could be game-changing for those who have previously understood their only viable new hire options to be personal service companies or permanent staff. For lots of firms, this marks a new era of contingent resourcing.

Victoria Roythorne is head of compliance and operations at recruiter Outsource UK