Employment Status Checker (CEST)

If you have concerns about whether your work falls ‘within IR35’ and that your engager is likely to insist that you are paid through the payroll, you will find this status checker tool useful.

It’s broadly very useful and helpful though we have some concerns with it.

For example, we have many members who have a general working pattern of self-employment. They work for lots of clients, often supplying equipment, often doing piecework (i.e. “I will pay you £xx to sort YYY problem out for me”). As such, their general mode of working is self-employed. When they apply for a mortgage, they base it on the wages that their Limited company pays them.

But now, they are on one engagement that looks like it should be treated as a PAYE engagement – and all of their plans for how they work are disrupted – sometimes at a good deal of expense to them.

On the particulars, there are a lot of eye-of-the-beholder questions that can be answered in a number of ways. On the question of  where and when you do your work, for example, engagers will often work on the understanding that you are working during fixed hours from their premises when the truth is that freelancers work, whereas and when they need to, to get the job done. Deadlines may be more important to freelancers than working hours are in reality.

Engagers will take the view that they will pay someone for the time to put mistakes right but freelancers, inevitably, have to fix things in their own time to safeguard their reputation.

Engagers will often take the view that they are applying a degree of supervision, direction, and control when in reality, the freelancer is turning up, knowing what to do, and working quite independently a lot of the time.

In terms of buying equipment, freelancers will often have a lock-up full of equipment that they use for some engagers but not for others, but in their freelance status, if they can’t bring the right gear in an ad hoc way, it will damage their reputation. So enagers will be saying that there’s no pre-condition to supply equipment when, in reality, there is one – albeit unspoken.

Freelancers often won’t have ‘hiring responsibilities’ per se, though they will often have a great deal of influence of who is hired.

Etc etc etc. The bottom line is that, in my view, I’ve rarely seen people working in the entertainment sector who have chosen a particular business arrangement primarily to minimise tax. It’s generally about how they work most of the time.

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1 Response to Employment Status Checker (CEST)

  1. Pingback: Applying for a Lorimer Letter (LP10) | Bectu Freelance Research

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