Is it easy to do business in the UK after IR35? | Beyond Borders Ep. 001

April 3rd, 2024

Beyond Borders

In a brand new podcast series called Beyond Borders, Briars’ CEO Andrew Fahey speaks to Michael Cleavely, the founder of CoComply, about IR35 legislation and what it means for businesses who want to expand to the UK.

Welcome to Beyond Borders, and the first episode in brand new series of podcasts hosted by Briars’ CEO, Andrew Fahey. Throughout the series, Andrew will be speaking to a range of professionals with expertise in international expansion, from entrepreneurs and CEOs of businesses, to other key executives in the industry, as well as leading figures in global expansion, sports and other fields who have interesting stories to tell and insights to share.

Subscribe to Beyond Borders news to receive early-access news about future guests and more.

And to kick off the first episode, Andrew speaks to Michael Cleavely, the founder of CoComply, a business with specialist knowledge on IR35 legislation, and as it says on its website, “exists to seamlessly, accurately, and fairly classify the world’s workers.”

You can watch the full video below, or also listen to the audio version on Spotify. You can also follow Andrew and Michael on LinkedIn, and of course follow the Briars LinkedIn page for more international expansion news.

Doing business in the UK post-IR35

Introduced by HMRC in 2000, IR35 seeks to identify ‘disguised employment’ situations where individuals work as contractors through an intermediary, such as a personal service company, but their working conditions and relationship with the client mirror that of an employee. This is important, as being classed as ‘self-employed’ in the UK can attract a lower level of tax than being ‘employed’.

The essence of IR35 is to ensure that contractors who essentially fulfil the role of employees, albeit through a corporate veil, pay similar taxes and National Insurance contributions as their employed counterparts, as well as insuring those who are truly self-employed are able to engage as an independent contractor and provide flexible benefits to their clients.

One of the interesting points discussed in the Beyond Borders podcast is that IR35, while being UK legislation, will be of interest to any business that operates across borders globally. Similar legislation is already in force in many countries, while others are currently working on their own version of IR35.

In the UK, IR35 has been through a long process of iterations, as we show in our IR35 timeline. Some of these changes have at times given business managers pause for thought about whether they should continue their UK expansion plans, but through much work in this area, we understand that both ‘employed’ and ‘self-employed’ are still perfectly viable options for businesses and workers in different scenarios under IR35.

In fact, as Andrew and Michael muse, HMRC is likely to take a positive view of businesses that have tried to do the right thing in IR35 implementation, have gone through a suitable due diligence process and have implemented any required changes. They refer to this as reasonable care within the legislation.

It is the job of experts in this field, such as Briars and CoComply, to guide businesses through this process.

We hope you enjoyed the first episode of Beyond Borders. Please make sure you subscribe to our mailing list, our YouTube channel and and Spotify account, and stay tuned for more regular episodes!

IR35 Guide

Shaun Cumming

Shaun is Head of Marketing at Briars, bringing 15 years of content and marketing leadership experience from his time at global financial services firms such as BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Brooks Macdonald and Investec. At Briars, his mission is to tell the story of our company and its people, as well as to shape the brand as we head into a new phase of growth. Shaun is leading the talented marketing team and is a member of our Senior Leadership Team.