If you provide services through your own personal service company you will be aware of the tax law known as IR35. This tax rule imposes an extra charge on your company, if you would be treated as an employee of your customer or customers, if you worked for the customer directly. It is very difficult to pin down when IR35 should apply, as it depends on the relationship between the contractor and the customer, which will be different in every case.
The Taxman thinks he can generalise about what makes some companies fall within IR35 and others escape it. He has drawn-up a set of business entity tests, complete with a scoring system, to help you judge whether your business would be at high, medium, or low risk of being investigated for falling under IR35.
These business entity tests are not derived from the tax law. They merely represent the Taxman’s view of the risk of a business falling within IR35.
The scoring attached to the tests is controversial, as it penalises businesses that have no bad debts, never pay to advertise and operate from the owner’s home. These IR35 business entity tests do not change the IR35 law one bit, and will probably be ignored by the Tax Tribunal.
If you choose to use the IR35 business entity tests, you don’t have to declare your score to the Taxman, the tests are merely for your own guidance. However, if you are concerned that the business entity tests produce a high risk score for your business, we should discuss why this is the case. Are there any changes which can be made to the way your business operates which would make it less likely to be caught by IR35?