Control, in the context of IR35 in an important factor, yet for most consultants and contractors the good news is that the level of control exercised by clients is rarely enough to cause an issue.
Control concerns the influence your client has over you, specifically in the context of:
- What you’re told to do
- Where you’re told to do it
- When you’re told to do it
- How you’re told to do it
More often than not, when you consider these four factors there is some degree of control exercised by your client. This doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be inside IR35. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to agree to undertake work for the client at a particular time and place, and still be outside IR35.
It’s likely that you’ll agree with your client what needs to be done, and often you’ll provide regular updates on your status. This is acceptable. What you do need to be mindful of is moving from project to another without a new contract being issued – this is indicative of employment.
Whilst it may be possible for you to work from home, or any location you decide, sometimes clients have good reasons for mandating that work is done in a particular location. This may include access to other key staff members, infrastructure or for security reasons.
You should be free to arrange your hours to suit the task at hand, and the most practical approach could be to work during office hours to secure access to other staff members. It’s also acceptable for your client to cap your hours for budgetary reasons.
The how aspect is important because if you’re told how to complete your work then this is a strong indicator of being inside IR35. However, most consultants and experienced contractors bring their own “how” in the form of professional experience, so this is rarely a factor for senior professionals. Just be mindful throughout your engagement that your client is not instructing you directly on how to undertake the work you are delivering.
How to overcome IR35 control issues
Find out what you can do to avoid IR35 control issues over on our handy control tips page.