18 months into the contract .. and IR35 looms ahead.

As this week is the last working one of this year, I was trying to work out roughly how long I’d been working on this contract. Turns out it’s 18 months (and 17 days) since I started back in June 2018.

In theory, I’ve got a few more years ahead of me, so long as they keep renewing my contract on a yearly basis. However, we were supposed to have been told by our new employment company by now that we are due to be renewed. I’ve expressed my wish to continue but with a request to be based at a site nearer to home. If that needs the occasional week based back down here near Milton Keynes, then so be it. Moving away from MK will help me with HMRC’s erasing of my ability to claim living/travel expenses after June 2020. However this only works if I am officially based elsewhere. If I have to stay down here, then no more expenses are possible.

That’s the “good” news. Of sorts.

But, due to the election and this job being a public sector one *and* that all contractors are still awaiting the dark shadow of being defined as ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35, we’re all out on a limb. Waiting. And waiting.

Will the new/continuing chancellor decide to revisit the whole IR35 mess that was set up by the ex-PM and chancellor? Or will they go with the flow, complete with a huge ‘oh bugger’ from the contracting community and the mass exodus that could follow. Or will they decide that it’s been mishandled from day one and to send it back for a rethink. Who knows?

I need definitive news on which route they are going to take, if only so that I can make my career and financial changes accordingly.

If I go “inside”IR35, then do I need to wind up my company and give contracting a miss? I could put the company on ice and try it out, and if it doesn’t work well, then I break the ice and start looking for a similar job elsewhere.

Or will the status quo be kept and I get to remain “outside” IR35, as I currently am? It works for me, at least until June 2020 when my “2 years at any one place of employment” kicks in and I’m no longer able to claim expenses. Then working in MK becomes a lot more expensive indeed.

Before anyone else suggests it, I’ve gone through the “new and improved” CEST tool numerous times and it can’t determine my IR35 status. However, with this new supply company, we (the contractors) don’t get to decide this ourselves but our they do on our behalf. I.e. they could shove all Technical Authors in as a single role-type and then apply that to each and every one of us TAs, wherever we’re based.

Emails have been received and documents sent out, but still no-one seems any the wiser. Ergo, I currently see myself as being “stuck” in IR35 limbo.

Although, if anyone has any Confluence-based technical author contracts coming up around April 2020, commutable from the Manchester area, then I (IR35-depending) would/could be interested.

You’ve always got to keep your options open 🙂

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