IR35 Tax Rules and Pensions

From April 6 2020, public authorities and all medium and large private businesses will have responsibility for deciding the employment status of their workers, rather than workers holding the responsibility to choose.

You could be affected by IR35 tax legislation, if you are a business, or work as a self-employed contractor for a business that meets at least two of the following criteria:

  • Has an annual turnover in excess of £10.2 million
  • The balance sheet totals more than £5.1 million
  • There are over 50 employees

Read on to find out what IR35 legislation means and how it might affect you…

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What is IR35?

The IR35 tax legislation was introduced in April 2000 to counter tax avoidance by both workers and the firms and organisations who employ them. This commonly occurs by using an intermediary such as a limited company, when the person would normally be considered an employee. The legislation has been criticised for being poorly conceived, overly complex and open to interpretation.

The legislation has also been accused of causing unwarranted costs and hardships for genuine businesses, especially self-employed and contractor workers. HMRC can consider such people to be ‘deemed employees’. If caught by IR35, they have to pay income tax and National Insurance Contributions as if they were on PAYE salaries, which can have a significant impact on net income.

The government is currently replacing the current IR35 legislation with a new ‘Off Payroll Tax’. This was first introduced into the public sector in April 2017 and will be rolled out to the private sector from April 2020.


How much extra tax is it if I fall inside the rules?

How much extra tax you have to pay will depend on your income. Relevant engagements caught by IR35 regulations have a 5% deduction allowance, which is a flat rate charged for administration expenses and other allowable expenses. After this flat rate allowance, the remaining bulk of your income will be ‘deemed salary’ and taxed as income at the usual levels.

Income will be taxed at the same levels as a regular employee. You could, however, benefit from working through a limited company. For example, through schemes such as the Flat Rate VAT Scheme.

You can find more details about how to calculate your deemed salary inside the IR35 rules on the HMRC website.

What if I fall outside the rules?

Falling outside IR35 is good news and means you can continue your business as usual. You’re deemed to be operating a genuine business, can pay yourself a salary and pay your taxes in the usual way with no need to concern yourself about the IR35 legislation. You may need to reassess IR35 again if your circumstances change in the future.


IR35 and pension contributions

Contributing to a pension plan if you’re self-employed is generally recommended and, if you fall inside the IR35 regulations, you could use pension contributions to off-set the amount of tax you have to pay. Additional tax along with your National Insurance Contributions could increase the tax you pay by 80% and reduce your net salary by as much as 25%.

By diverting a percentage of your gross fees straight to a pension scheme, you could save on the potential losses. Pension rules allow tax relief on contributions up to £40,000 per annum and could prevent your income being taxed in accordance with the IR35 legislation.

Setting things up this way could lead to tax relief of 50%, which may make a massive impact to your pension pot, and the way you handle being caught by the IR35 tax rules.

IR35 can be tricky to get your head around but we work with experts who understand the tax legislation and how it can affect you. Get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat and we’ll introduce you to one of the independent financial advisors we work with. They will be able to explain how IR35 could affect you and help you make a plan for the way you work and how you’re paid, all of which should help you meet your long-term financial goals.


Is there a specific pension for IR35 contractors?

Pension providers were quick to realise the business opportunities brought about by IR35 legislation. This means that there is much marketing targeted at self-employed and contractor workers caught by IR35 legislation. Be cautious about falling for something which sounds like it was made for you. Good marketing is unlikely to result in you getting the best pension.

There isn’t a specific need to find a pension scheme devised especially for workers who fall under IR35 and you’re more likely to find the best pension returns elsewhere. To find out about all your pension choices, talk to one of the independent financial advisors we work with.


Speak to an expert

The independent financial advisors we work with are fully qualified to provide advice and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Call 0808 189 0463 or make an online enquiry and we’ll match you with an advisor who is expert in tax and pensions.

They will be happy to answer all your questions and help you find a pension which is best suited to deliver returns as part of a long-term financial planning strategy, taking all your needs and circumstances into account.

If you already have a pension, we can also arrange a free pensions review to ensure that your current pension pot is performing as well as you need for the income you wish to have in your retirement.

We can arrange a free pension review for you today

70% of customers who have a pension review find a better deal

We can arrange a free pension review for you today

70% of customers who have a pension review find a better deal

Book a free, no-obligation pension review today