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Taylor - more considered tax approach needed

Taylor - more considered tax approach needed

Regular visitors to the Larsen Howie website will remember the build up to and release of the Taylor Review, which looked into modern employment practices in the UK and was released earlier this year.

If this is your maiden visit – firstly, welcome – and secondly, you can read the review here if you fancy catching up.

The review’s author was Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Taylor recently sat in front of the government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and Work and Pensions Committee and discussed the review, providing some more insight and opinion on his findings.

If you have a couple of hours spare, feel free to listen to Taylor’s comments in full.

Intriguingly, many of Taylor’s more interesting comments go above and beyond the contents of the review, and are particular pertinent for contractors.

One of the standout calls is for a more considered approach from the government and HMRC when it comes to taxing those who work for themselves. This view will undoubtedly be shared by the majority of contractors, many of whom may feel they are often unfairly targeted by HMRC.

Taylor also suggests more should be done to promote and advise the self-employed on pensions. This is a bit of a sore spot for many contractors, as generally they aren’t the best at putting money aside for post-retirement. Taylor’s comments are both logical and welcome, as the possibility of more structured pension schemes in place for all workers could benefit many.

Another of the many interesting topics Taylor covered was worker status. A particularly important area for contractors, Taylor identified some discrepancies around something very close to IR35 and contracting in general – the right of substitution.

“I believe that substitution is used inappropriately as the factor which enables some employers to say that people are self-employed rather than workers,” he said. “I don’t think the fact that you can get someone else to do your round – often an entitlement that is notional – changes the fact that when you are doing your round you are being effectively ’employed’ by the company.”

Taylor’s comments have been welcomed by the IPSE. The organisation’s director of policy Simon McVicker commented: “Although not part of his original remit for the Review of modern working practices, Taylor is right to call for a more considered approach to the taxation of the self-employed. Instead of damaging piecemeal changes, it’s time for the government to commission a comprehensive review of how we tax this vital and growing part of our economy.”

McVicker also backed up Taylor’s comments on pensions and employee status.

“Taylor is also right that we urgently need to address the thorny issue of employment status,” he said. “The current confusion leaves vulnerable workers too open to exploitation by unscrupulous employers. At IPSE we’ve been arguing for some time that the best way to clear the confusion is to introduce a statutory definition of self-employment. We also agree with Mr Taylor’s comments on the need to do more to promote pension uptake among the self-employed: the lack of pension support for the self-employed is a ticking time bomb.”