The IR35 Forum, made up of HMRC and various industry stakeholders, met once again on 30 August to discuss IR35 and the minutes have now been released. 
Much has happened since the May 2018 Forum, including HMRC's publication of it's position on MOO and the Consultation into off-payroll reform in the Private Sector also concluded.  
 
Most importantly (and indeed since the August 2018 Forum, Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed that IR35 reform will hit the Private Sector in April 2020. 
 
Due to delays with the release of information, the minutes for the August 2018 Forum have only just been published. Here, as always, we follow the details closely. 

What was discussed? 

Once again, CEST and MOO (mutuality of obligation) dominated the discussions. 
 
HMRC confirmed that a number of suggestions have been made on developments and improvements for CEST. This follows months of industry-wide criticism of the HMRC tool - particularly it's complete exclusion of MOO. 
 
HMRC have agreed to consider 2 options for development:- 
 
1. Add information about MOO on the CEST landing page 
 
2. Re-draft the HMRC paper on MOO and include more details. 
 
Overall, it seems that HMRC is finally acknowledging some fault with the confusion around MOO and in particular, it's assumption that all contracts inherently contain MOO. 

Further talk about CEST 

In addition to the suggestions to develop and update CEST, Forum members were keen to argue that CEST was not kep tup-to-date following recent cases and that this should be managed more effectively to keep it current. 
 
A greater concern, and now more topical than ever, was that CEST was not fit for the Private Sector. 
 
HMRC made it clear that they were keen to work with the industry to improve the CEST tool but that it needed to remain simple enough for majority to use. In my opinion, this is exactly the issue - IR35 and Employment Status, has and will continue to be complex. Creating a basic tool for determining IR35 status is therefore inherently difficult. 
 
We will now watch and see what changes are made - particularly now that we face reform in April 2020! 
We follow all IR35 News closely and report back with they key details. Follow our IR35 Blog to stay up-to-date and keep informed. 
 
 
 
 
Written by: 
 
Nicola J Sorrell -  
Effective Accounting 
 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
 
 
Tagged as: CEST, Forum, IR35
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