IR35 activists plan demo outside parliament

Anti IR35 campaign group, Stop the Off-Payroll Tax, is planning a demonstration in Westminster later this month to lobby MPs to stop IR35 reform plans

The protest will be held on 12 February in Westminster from 11am to 3pm to try and stop the off-payroll tax.

The off-payroll working rules are set to be extended to large and medium-sized private sector companies from April 2020. This will see liability for national insurance contributions (NICs) and income tax moved to the hiring company, rather than the contractor’s personal service company.

As a result, a number of major financial services companies are planning to terminate long-term contractors and move them onto the payroll in order to comply with the new rules.

Despite announcing a review of the plans for extension of IR35 the government has issued detailed guidance on how the new rules will work. This was released weeks before the outcome of a review of off-payroll working for the private sector, which the Treasury said was a review of the implementation process, not the actual rules.

The organiser of the demonstration, Dave Chaplin, founder of Contractor Calculator, said: ‘We will be protesting on 12 February in Westminster from 11am-3pm to try and stop the off-payroll tax from destroying an entire sector.

‘It will be the culmination of years of hard work from me and my team, which will be to absolutely no avail if contractors don't step up and help themselves - it's no good me standing there if I'm not surrounded by hundreds of contractors all demanding fair tax laws.’

 ‘They are doing this despite the damage this is already causing and despite a general election campaign commitment by the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, to conduct a proper review of the flawed IR35 legislation.

‘Disappointingly, the government instead announced a short consultation prior to the rollout in place of a genuine review of IR35.’

After the protest outside the Houses of Parliament, campaigners plan to present a letter to the Treasury and then attend a drop-in session for MPs to meet constituents in the Macmillan Room at Portcullis House, hosted by Tim Farron MP, former leader of the Lib Dems.

Chaplin is calling on protesters to sign up to attend and has been generating interest from contractors on LinkedIn. There have been mixed reactions, although the majority of comments have been supportive.

One IT contractor said: ‘Got a letter from my MP Andrea Leadsom after contacting her via email, she has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on my behalf stating the reduced taxes paid by the impact of my business closing and not employing local businesses and paying them leading to corporation tax, etc. The greater economical impact than just the bottomline tax figure, unemployed people, reduced business…I will try and make the 12th, thanks for all your hard work.’

 Another IT contractor for a US bank said: ‘Is this really the right approach? Protests rarely have a positive effect, more often than not [they] have a damaging impact. Contractors are professionals, not professional protesters waving banners at people. This is also a mid week event at mid day. Most contractors are professionals and have work commitments.’

Information on the Stop the Off-Payroll rules protest

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