If you work for someone else, it is important to know whether you are working for that person as employed or self-employed as an independent contractor.
If you are the one having to employ somebody, it is your responsibility to correctly determine the employment status of that person.
A worker’s employment status will determine the charge to tax on income and the class of National Insurance contributions due.
It is necessary to determine whether the person works under a contract of service (as an employee) or under a contract for services (as self-employed or independent contractor).
There are some test and factors that can determine the worker’s right status. For instance if the workers are paid by the hour, week or month and if they can get overtime pay or bonus it means that they are employed. Also, if they work a certain amount of hours and they can be moved from task to task than again they are considered to be employees.
Important to establish is whether the workers can be replaced by somebody else and whether they are being told where, when and how to carry out their work. Again if the answer is affirmative than that worker classifies as an employee within the company.
If the workers are self-employed,the answer to all the following questions should be positive:
•Do they regularly work for a number of different people?
•Can they hire someone to do the work or engage helpers at their own expense (the so called right of substitution and engagement of helpers)?
•Do they carry a financial risk?
•Can they decide what work to do, how and when to do the work and where to provide the services?
•Are they providing the main items of equipment they need to do heir job?
•Do they agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of the time it takes?
Very important to highlight the HMRC’s view of a worker : “Just because a worker is self-employed in one job, doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be self-employed in another job. Equally, if a worker is employed in one job, he or she could be self-employed in another. ”
It is a general requirement that those wishing to take on workers consider the terms and conditions of a particular engagement to determine whether the worker is an employee or self-employed. If you any doubts, you can always ask your local Status Inspector for an opinion as to the employment status of your workers. Also there is an Employment Status Indicator (ESI) tool that enables you to check the employment status of an individual or group of workers.
Unfortunately, the status of self-employed workers is a favourite target of the Taxman, particularly during a PAYE compliance visit.
So take Taxfile‘s tax agents advice and protect yourself with a contract and and keep all the correspondence between you and the contractor covering the main points about employment status to avoid problems in the future.