IR35 control tips

If you’re not sure what control within IR35 means, watch our explainer video here.

The right mindset

  • You are a supplier with a project to deliver, not an employee or a bum on a seat. If your client engaged a company to refurbish an office, they wouldn’t micro-manage every task, orchestrate the day hour by hour, or tell the company how to complete the work. You should adopt the same mindset: you are a supplier responsible for outcomes, not tasks.
  • In general, the more specialist your skills, the less able your client is to control you. They can’t tell you how to do something they don’t understand, and market forces put you in a position to be able to take control / dictate terms. Therefore, continue on a path of professional development to build rare / niche skills.

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Red flags

  • Not being able to refuse work that is not in your contract, being moved to a new project, or working on tasks not in your original contract without a documented contract amendment.
  • Seeking permission for days off (holiday, etc), or having to use internal HR systems to book days off.
  • Your client changing your working location without a contract change.
  • Being task-driven: finishing one task and then getting another task allocated, or being moved from task to task without consultation.
  • Not having the right to choose your working hours, or for these to be contained in your contract. It is ok to work regular hours for convenience, but it is your right to choose them.
  • Being supervised, where someone is checking you’re doing the work required to the required standard, and/or helping you develop skills and knowledge.

Day to day activities and influence

  • Where possible, work on projects with clear deliverable-based outcomes, with a fixed scope.
  • Don’t get drawn into conversations about ‘how’ work needs to be done. Instead, steer the conversation to outcomes/success criteria and timescales. Assume responsibility for this.
  • Retain control over your working hours. Make a point by working a pattern that is different to other employees, for example having a regular half-day or time spent at home.
  • If your hiring manager tells you to knock off early say you appreciate it, but remind them it’s important that you don’t.
  • Don’t seek permission for time off. Instead, notify your manager out of professional courtesy, or perhaps discuss your potential options for dates to hear their views. Inform your client of your absence via email from your company email account as an audit trail.
  • Look for opportunities to provide services concurrently to other clients.
  • Set up a dedicated home office, and use it where possible.
Next → Up next in this guide: Business on own account

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Contact inniAccounts



0800 033 7827

Calling from overseas

+441332 460 010

Head Office

1 Derwent Business Centre
Clarke Street