Actors and other production workers' status and IR35

Currently HMRC recognises as self-employed people who are ‘in business on their own account’. Will the new off-payroll working (IR35) rules inadvertently move the goalposts on employment status in a way that will have a particular impact on the media industry?

Many engagers will be using the Check Employment Status for tax (CEST) tool to decide whether or not the worker must be paid through a payroll, but this tool has certain deficiencies only some of which are easily corrected.

Many actors use an agent to arrange their business for them, and this has long been accepted as being in business on one’s own account (with the talent agency sourcing the business). This is very common in the media sector, although is less so in other sectors.

This particular test is a difficult one for an engager to spot as they are unlikely to know all of a worker's circumstances. If this facility for using the ‘in business on one’s own account’ test gets lost there could be serious consequences for those affected:

For further discussion on this, including access to TAXguide 14/19: IR35 New tax rules, our current understanding of the new rules beginning in April 2020, and other aspects of the new off-payroll working rules, visit our IR35 hub.

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