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Personal Service Companies and Income Tax: New HMRC “IR35” tests

11 May 2012

HMRC have published further guidance on how they will decide if personal service companies (PSCs) fall inside the “IR35” rules, and so are required to account for PAYE and national insurance contributions. It may just be coincidence that this follows the recent publicity around use of PSCs by individuals working in the public sector.

The new guidance sets out twelve “Business Tests” with questions to help decide if a PSC would be caught by “IR35”, and each test has a score depending on the answer. The aggregate score from all twelve tests can then be used to decide if the PSC is in low, medium or high risk categories. The tests are not an exact science, and HMRC give examples of some situations that would be borderline, as well as those they think would be caught or not.

The tests are voluntary, but may well be useful for people either looking to set up a PSC, or who already have one, to gauge HMRC’s approach.

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