You were right earlier when you said “it isn’t that straightforward is it”. And as a consequence you’re not completely right now. Companies might take on contractors because it’s cheaper. But they might also take them on to absolve themselves of a long-term commitment (and that analysis might involve an assessment of risk i.e. the risk that a temporary requirement will stretch out into a permanent one). They might take them on because very specific skills are in short supply at permanent-staff salary rates. In a sense all of these things could be reduced to money. But it’s in the state’s interest to see that its tax take does’t fall as a result of companies and contractors cooking up schemes to get work done and to get paid with a smaller slice going to the exchequer.


How is IR35 the answer then?

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It’s a Tory answer - make the small guy pay for the big guy


Introduced under Labour though!

New Labour = same thing


Maybe it isn’t the answer - But I remember in the 90’s when I was subbying that dividend payments coupled with “milage allowances” were a effectively a methods enabling a “higher earner” to pay “lower earner” tax levels. Maybe it’s not the same now?

I’m guessing it isn’t (but I don’t know). My only point was that in a 3-player game (employer, worker, state) it isn’t fair if two of them conspire against the third to short-change it.


Why are you assuming that everyone is conspiring. If anything the tax rules are weighed in favour of large companies/corporations rather than individuals or sole traders etc.

It is easier for HMRC to go after individuals who don’t have the legal resources to fight or obfuscate them in court cases etc. This is the real reason for IR35.

I may be missing something, but shirley, being a contractor is a choice thing ? You don’t have to go contract and you do get to choose when you work /what you work on etc.

It’s a lifestyle choice. Why do you expect more money and also the flexibility of your lifestyle choice ?

If it doesn’t pay enough there isn’t much choice. Firms need flexible workforces as VB says above. Flexibility costs more. If the argument is that the tax code shouldn’t be the way that’s managed then an alternative needs establishing. I doubt you’ll find anyone outside of HMRC (or whoever is lobbying for ir35 privately) who’d say ir35, in its current form, is the answer to anything.

You can choose which permanent jobs to apply for or accept. You can change permanent jobs when you want. The notice period might be a bit longer, but you still have that choice.

Let’s face it, if business wasn’t so cunty, we’d all have better paid, permanent jobs with good benefits. We could also pay more tax and have better social services as a result.

Meanwhile, the big corporations get away with paying fuck all.

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IR35 certainly isn’t the right answer and will, inevitably, lead to more problems than it solves.

The point remains that contracting is a choice and that the vast majority of (not all, granted) people that choose it, choose it purely for the financial gains.

I have sat in many an office where contractors get paid 2 to 2 and a half, sometimes substantially more the rate of the permie sitting next to them for exactly the same job.

That can’t be right either.

Not true. It’s nowhere near as easy and if you do that too often you are classified as a job hopper. Try and find a half decent new job with 4 or 5 consecutive 12 months or less jobs on your CV.

It helps if you apply for suitable jobs, making you less likely to move subsequently! You still have that choice to move.

As I said, in practice, you can’t.

Seems to me that many contractors have been quite happy to ride the gravy train for a long time and now that that is in danger of disappearing, feel that for some reason they are being unfairly treated.

In practice, I have.

I have changed my permanent job through choice a few times.

Consecutively, with less than 12 months tenure ?

No, because I made better choices than that.

I fear we may just be going round in circles.

My only point is that regardless of contract, you have a choice.