2017 is starting to draw to a close for all contractors. Thoughts turn to Christmas do’s, Christmas shopping, Christmas jumpers and Christmas hangovers. So what better than taking a look back at the year that was.

There have been some good moments, some not so good, and some that will divide opinion in 2017. In case you’ve been on holiday for the year (lucky you!), here’s a reminder of what’s gone on.

Much has been made this year around defining employment status, and there were calls early in the year for more understanding of what contractors do and bring to the economy. There was also a prediction that contractors would play a big role in the future workplace.


March saw the much anticipated and somewhat controversial introduction of HMRC’s digital tool for IR35. But problems weren’t far away, as it was quickly deemed ‘unlawful’ by one industry body.

March also saw a disappointing first 2017 Budget, though Chancellor Philip Hammond swiftly pulled up the handbrake and produced a remarkable u-turn on the proposed NIC hike for the self-employed.

April was dominated by the maligned public sector IR35 reforms. Very quickly they started to take their toll on the sector, as many feared they would.

Intriguingly, and despite their own instructions, in one of the more controversial 2017 stories HMRC placed the contractors who helped build the new Employment Status Service (ESS) – HMRC’s controversial new digital tool – inside IR35. HMRC was also forced to deny the ESS can help facilitate tax avoidance. Not the smoothest entry really, and no surprise that a huge distrust among contractors for the ESS tool was reported.


Another controversial HMRC initiative, the Making Tax Digital tool, was deferred in May, much to the joy of many SME's, contractors and freelancers.

The much anticipated Taylor Review came out in July, and was studiously evaluated by contractors, with many unsure as to what it had actually achieved what would come about as a result.


A startling revelation about HMRC’s viewpoint on mutuality of obligation (MOO) in public sector contractor employment came out in November, as HMRC failed to include this test in its Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool. But what does this mean? Well, it means that the CEST tool and the case law that underpins the IR35 legislation do not match up. This oversight is comical as it's vital for contractors with regards to ascertaining their IR35 status.

November also saw another Budget announcement, which seemed to be quite favourable for contractors when compared with the doom and gloom that was anticipated. Reacquaint yourself with the main points here.

Over the course of the year we kept the site full of handy tips and good advice for contractors. So if you missed them the first time around, take a look at our articles on:

We also promoted the positive vibes contractors have, gave you tips on how to approach a job interview, and advised on how to get your work-life balance right as a contractor.

We’re good to you, aren’t we? Keep coming back to www.larsenhowie.co.uk and expect more of the same in 2018! And keep an eye out for our article on what next year might hold in store.