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Tax changes for off-payroll working in the public sector

7th March, 2017

If you provide off-payroll services to the public sector, there some significant tax changes that are likely to affect you from April 2017. Nottingham chartered accountants Clayton & Brewill explain the forthcoming changes.

Tax changes for off-payroll working in the public sector

Off-payroll working

If you provide services to public sector organisations through your own limited company, it is likely that you are classed as ‘off-payroll’.

Depending on the nature of the contracts and the services you provide, you are subject to IR35 tax legislation to ensure that you pay the correct amount of employment tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). The IR35 legislation was introduced to ensure individuals weren’t using their limited company status in order to ‘disguise’ their employment to avoid paying tax and NICs.

What’s changing?

Currently, you are responsible for calculating and paying the appropriate tax and NICs. However, from 6 April 2017, this responsibility shifts to the public authority that you are providing services to (known as the fee-payer). From April, the fee-payer will be responsible for calculating and paying the relevant amount of tax and NICs. The required amounts will be deducted at the source (as it would for an employee) and paid directly to HMRC.

Deciding if the rules apply

The fee-payer will decide if the rules apply depending on the nature of the contract and services provided.

HMRC are shortly due to release The Employment Status Service, an online tool that helps the public authority to make a decision as to whether the rules apply. If you use an employment agency or other third-party to get work, you should also be able to use the tool.

Paying yourself through your company

The new legislation will allow for your company to receive a deduction up to the full amount of the deemed direct payment, so you won’t be taxed twice. You then have a couple of options as to how you will be paid by your company:

  • Through your company’s payroll
  • A dividend from your company’s profits

It’s also worth noting that you will still be required to report to HMRC on your company’s tax affairs in the usual way.


 John provides locum services to his local NHS through his company, J Services Ltd.

John invoices the NHS £6000 fees + VAT of £1200

The NHS have decided that the new rules apply and deduct £1458 in tax and £416 class 1a NICs (at personal tax rates based on income of £6000 for the month), which it pays directly to HMRC.

J Services Ltd receives £6000 minus the £1874 deductions, making a total of £4126 plus VAT of £1200 (VAT will be dealt with in the same way).

John’s taxable income is £4126

John then needs to decide whether to:

  • pay himself a salary of £4126 (the net payment above) without paying tax or NICs as these have already been paid; or
  • pay himself a tax-free dividend of up to £4126 without paying tax. The dividend wouldn’t go on John’s tax return.

The new legislation is clearly going to mean a major change for anyone providing services through a limited company to public bodies and also for the engaging companies themselves.

If you think this forthcoming legislation will affect you, please do get in touch. Contact Yvonne at Clayton & Brewill on 0115 950 3044 or email.

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