Over the last decade, the freelance economy has grown to levels that make it a true force within the wider labour market. In conjunction with this growth, there is a real consistency in how national economies legislate for independent professionals.

Even with this growth, the UK government's broadening of its IR35 legalisation to include private sector is the biggest shift in the freelancer/contractor industry for some time. It effects both sides of the coin - how organisations approach the hiring of contingent labour, and, at its simplest, how freelancers are paid.

It may seem like it’s the clients who have to do all the preparing, to be able to carry out IR35 assessments and then deduct income tax and NICs for those contracts which are assessed as inside IR35. But, the impact of these changes will affect all contractors.

For example, for each contract that you do, you will need to go through whatever administrative processes the client has implemented to carry out the assessment – some clients may only assess the contract, but others may be more collaborative and involve you responding to questions too.

For contracts you do for small clients, you will remain responsible for carrying out the assessment in the same way as the rules work now.

What to think about now

When the similar changes were first rolled out in the public sector we saw users of contractors pay A LOT more attention to the requirements of IR35 and we fully expect this will happen in the private sector too. It means that the process of agreeing assignments with your clients will change - the client will need to do a full IR35 assessment as part of the brief process. Depending on the assessment outcome, how you are paid will change. To get yourself prepared for the upcoming changes here are a few things you can do:

1. Understand how the rules work

Start off by taking the HMRC IR35 test, which will assess your current work practices to see if your current contracts would land inside or outside IR35. Become familiar with how it works and the sorts of questions it asks. There is also a lot of guidance provided by HMRC which will help you making your own assessments when you need to (for example, for a small client).

2. Understand how you deliver your services to clients right now

To stay outside of IR35 (if that’s your priority) you need to be sure you are operating like a ‘business’, not a ‘disguised employee’. Do sell your services on a time or project basis? Do you deliver your services on-site, off-site or a mix of both? Do you have multiple projects on the go at once or are you dedicated to one client at a time? How embedded are you in a client team or are you fairly independent in the way you work (times, equipment, etc.)

3. Understand what it is that the client is buying when they engage you

Does the client engage a certain skillset, or are they engaging a specific person (and only that person will do!) One key factor in operating like a business is whether you can send someone else in as a substitute for you to complete the services.

4. Understand who your clients are

When we surveyed over five hundred freelancers on YunoJuno we found that the vast majority of you went freelance for the freedom to work on different clients and projects. So, understand who your clients are and consider how much variety there is there.

5. Understand what you look like to the outside world

Do you have your own brand, marketing materials, website/portfolio/GitHub, etc? Do you look like an independent contractor?

6. Understand what your contracts say

What terms are they between you and your clients? Do you look like an independent service provider or more like a temp?

Need to know more?

YunoJuno is very excited to announce that our new product IR35 Safe is launched! IR35 Safe is the culmination of 18 months of R&D to create a best-in-class platform to manage the ‘new normal’ under IR35. Check it out and get in front of it today!

Get IR35 Safe

IR35 Events

We've been doing some research and have discovered that more than two-thirds of freelancers in the UK are unaware of the impending changes to IR35. As the leading freelance platform for the creative and technology sector, we feel like it's part of our job to make sure you're up to date with all the latest news and changes that might affect you!

So, we will be running some events, bringing together some of the key experts to help you out. This will be an opportunity to discuss how you can prepare for IR35 and raise any questions you may have.

13th February 2020

Please note this is a small event as we'd like to provide an opportunity for everyone to ask questions. As tickets are limited, please only book a space if you're able to make it on Thursday 13th Feb 2020.

27th February 2020

Please note this is a small event as we'd like to provide an opportunity for everyone to ask questions. As tickets are limited, please only book a space if you're able to make it on Thursday 27th Feb 2020.

12th March 2020

Please note this is a small event as we'd like to provide an opportunity for everyone to ask questions. As tickets are limited, please only book a space if you're able to make it on Thursday 12th March 2020.

26th March 2020

Please note this is a small event as we'd like to provide an opportunity for everyone to ask questions. As tickets are limited, please only book a space if you're able to make it on Thursday 26th March 2020.