Questions to Ascertain Inside/Outside Status

The request was refused by HM Revenue and Customs.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

It has been reported by some tax accountants that HMRC have asked them over a hundred questions in order to attempt to ascertain the IR35 status of a single contract arrangement. I note this contrasts heavily with the CEST tool, which asks only 30.

It seems therefore that HMRC has additional checks it can perform in order to ascertain the status of a contracts that it has not yet published. Please could you supply the list of questions you can ask in such cases (beyond those already asked by CEST).

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not asking for any details of any open cases, or for any information which may identify them. I only need the questions you're asking of contractors to determine their IR35 status. If you don't have a list of the exact questions you've previously asked, I'll settle for a list of questions you might ask if the situation requires it.

Yours faithfully,

Ralph Bolton

FOI Team, HM Revenue and Customs

Our ref: FOI2021/04555

Dear Mr Bolton,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 15th March which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Departm ent for answer.

As you will appreciate, the coronavirus pandemic has provided
unprecedented challenges for Government Departments including HMRC. Over
the coming weeks our priorities are to provide critical existing and new
Public Services for Government to support customers during this difficult
time. As a result, resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or
information rights work. HMRC aims to respond to all FOIA Requests within
20 working days. If for whatever reason this timescale cannot be complied
with HMRC will, where possible, write to you explaining the reason for the
delay and providing an estimated time for response.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

FOI Team, HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bolton,

We are writing in response to your request for information, received 15
March.

Yours sincerely,

HMRC Freedom of Information Team

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Questions to Ascertain Inside/Outside Status'.

I asked for the "source" of questions you ask to ascertain IR35/employment status. You have replied saying you do not have this information. I'm afraid I don't accept that this can possibly be the case. I cannot imagine that in each case, each tax inspector has to use deep legal skills to "invent" the questions you ask - at least not in the first few interactions. I'm sure as a case unfolds, it may turn more and more unique and so require new questions to be developed, but in the early stages, your claim that there is a "range of factors that must be considered..." can't possibly be the case, and so I would expect you have a series of questions that a given inspector can choose from.

Further you claim you do not have the exact questions previously asked. This cannot be true - you must surely keep records of the things asked in order to receive the responses and to build any subsequent case.

Lastly, since CEST asks 30 questions, I would expect you to be able to return at least the list of questions developed into it, but also the questions that were considered but were subsequently not developed into the tool.

In summary, there seem far too many ways for lists of questions to exist that HMRC cannot possibly operate efficiently without such lists of questions being available. As such, I ask you to reconsider my original request and release the information requested.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/q...

Yours faithfully,

Ralph Bolton

FOI Team, HM Revenue and Customs

Our ref: IR2021/07308

Dear Mr Bolton,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 16th April which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Department for answer.

As you will appreciate, the coronavirus pandemic has provided
unprecedented challenges for Government Departments including HMRC. Over
the coming weeks our priorities are to provide critical existing and new
Public Services for Government to support customers during this difficult
time. As a result, resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or
information rights work. HMRC aims to respond to all FOIA Requests within
20 working days. If for whatever reason this timescale cannot be complied
with HMRC will, where possible, write to you explaining the reason for the
delay and providing an estimated time for response.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

FOI Team, HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bolton,

We are writing in response to your request for information, received 16
April.

Yours sincerely,

HMRC Freedom of Information Team