The Chancellor detailed his Spring Statement today, 13 March 2018. The aim of the statement is no longer to announce tax and spending changes (that now occurs just once per year in the Autumn Budget) but simply to give an update of the overall health of the economy, an update on progress made since the Autumn Budget and an invitation to people to give views on any changes the government are considering. 
 
So, while no one was expecting any tax changes, the one pressing concern on all contractor’s minds (and mine!) was if there would be further word on the IR35 Private Sector Consultation mentioned in the Autumn Budget
Spring Statement 2018 
For several months there has been speculation throughout the industry that the announcement in the Autumn Statement spelled doom for the contracting industry. With the Public Sector reforms introduced in April 2017, many felt that the same reforms would be rolled out within the Private Sector as soon as April 2019. I have to date taken a more pragmatic view, and believe that although reforms may be ahead, it is unlikely with Brexit looming that changes will be made as quickly as many may suggest. It is for this reason, and due to the absence of facts, that I have stayed quiet on the matter. 
 
The whole industry, including recruiters, accountants, tax advisors and agents have all put forward their opinions. Many contractor forums have launched petitions and lobbied for their say to ensure that the concerns of the impact on contractors personally and the economy in general are fully voiced. 
 
So, might the lack of any mention of IR35 in the Spring Statement be cause for quiet optimism? Perhaps common sense is starting to prevail? The one thing we do know, as ever, is that IR35 continues to frustrate all of us. My advice to contractors is not to be complacent and to:- 
 
1. Keep calm – nothing has been announced yet and IR35 has long been the subject of chatter and concern. 
 
2. Stay informed – follow our blog. We won’t bombard you with unnecessary spam but will keep you updated on news. 
 
3. Take some action – obtain an IR35 Contract and Working Practices Review as a first step (we can help here – drop us an email for details). 
 
4. Be assured you are in safe hands – we are contractor and IR35 experts and will support you through any changes if they are announced. We already have plans in place to help manage any transition including options for claiming entrepreneur’s relief (should you need to close your limited company) and will shortly be putting together an umbrella company offering (should you need to go down that route) – so watch this space! 
 
Oh, and one other key point for businesses to note from the Spring Statement:- 
 
- A consultation regarding the VAT Registration Threshold has been announced with suggestions that the threshold may be reduced significantly. This won’t affect many of you who already trade above the threshold, but for much smaller businesses it may have an impact. 
 
Any queries or concerns, as always, please get in touch. 
 
Tagged as: Contractor, IR35, VAT
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