A Vestura Group company | 01509 380 040 | hello@contractor-compliance.co.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exactly is the Contractor Compliance Portal?

It’s a completely free, market-leading all-in-one solution that allows businesses to manage their IR35 supply chains. Users can manage and onboard contractors, quickly and accurately undertake role and engagement based IR35 assessments, generate and issue SDS’s, seamlessly manage IR35 status appeals, automatically or specifically insure outside IR35 engagements, and validate and insure ‘outside IR35’ external SDS’s, all without the prior requirement of any IR35 knowledge.

But it’s not just businesses that can use it. Contractors can use to get their own IR35 status assessed – for free. Not only that, but contractors can also purchase one of our IR35 Contract Reviews, purchase discounted business insurances such as Professional Indemnity, Public & Employers Liability, Contractor Legal Protection and IR35 Insurance, and get completely free of charge mortgage and protection advice as well as discounted mortgage broking fees, all from our in-house advisors.



2. Why should I use the Contractor Compliance Portal?

It’s the leading IR35 assessment system available. Nothing else is free to use, provides role-based assessments, engagement-based SDS assessments, external SDS verification assessments and contractor IR35 status assessments within a single system. In addition there is the ability to insure, automatically all or just specific engagements, and manage contractor compliance within the same system – saving you time and money as a result, all whilst ensuring you meet your compliance requirements in doing so.

3. Do I need to understand IR35 to use the system?

No, you don’t. Let’s be honest, IR35 isn’t a fun subject (except to us…). That’s why we’ve taken away the timely and costly requirement for you to learn and understand everything about IR35. The system can be used no matter how much or little you know about IR35, making it suitable for everyone.

4. What experience do you have with IR35?

Our team have over 15 years of experience in IR35 having worked at board and senior management level at some of the biggest names in the marketplace, and we’ve personally reviewed thousands of contracts from an IR35 perspective in that time.



5. How do I know the results are accurate?

The system has been designed and overseen by experts in IR35 and is based on established IR35 case law and key tests. We’ve tested and tested our system to ensure it produces accurate and consistent results every time.

6. Who is the Contractor Compliance Portal?

The Contractor Compliance Portal is a trading style of Roots Insurance Brokers Limited, who are directly authorised by the FCA, and are an established provider of contract insurances and IR35 status services via www.rootsinsurance.co.uk where customers can quote and buy online on a 24/7/365 basis.

7. How much does it cost to use the Contractor Compliance Portal?

Nothing at all, it’s completely free. There are no setup costs, no usage costs and no hidden costs, making it the leading system available to assess IR35 status.



8. How much does an IR35 assessment cost?

Nothing, IR35 status assessments are free. There are no hidden costs that spring up at the completion of answering all the questions i.e. paying to get your result and/or documentation.

9. What is the difference between the various IR35 assessments?

We offer a range of IR35 status assessments. Role-based assessments allow a role to obtain an IR35 status so that it can be advertised as inside or outside IR35. Engagement-based SDS assessments build off a role-based assessment so that the all-important Status Determination Statement (SDS) document can be produced and evidenced, facilitate an appeal process, all as legally required and with reasonable care applied whilst doing so. External SDS verification assessments allow businesses to insure outside SDS’s from external companies other than the Contractor Compliance Portal providing both IR35 determinations match, whilst contractor IR35 assessments allow a contractor to get their IR35 status so that they can compare it to others, use it as part of an appeal, just understand it out of curiosity, or file as part of their IR35 status evidence.

10. Is an IR35 Status Assessment the same as a Contract Review?

No. An IR35 status assessment requires a set of specifically designed questions to be answered so that an automated IR35 status determination can be arrived at. It takes a complete 360-degree view of the engagement, including the contract and working practices, into consideration, whereas a contract review sees a human personally review the terms and IR35 clauses within the contract to provide bespoke feedback and advice, but without considering the working practices of the engagement.



11. What is an External SDS Assessment?

An External SDS Assessment asks less than a third of the questions from the full assessment process, making it a light touch re-assessment of an existing SDS. An SDS from an external source can be brought into the system and insured (with the prospects of success clause removed) if a) that external SDS shows an ‘outside IR35’ determination and b) after completing our External SDS Assessment question set the result shows we agree with the ‘outside IR35’ status determination.

12. Why is an IR35 status assessment free, but I must pay for a contract review?

The big difference and reason for this is the human cost of each. An IR35 status assessment is an automated process completed online with no human interaction – except in the rare case of a borderline result. A contract review is a fully manual process undertaken by an expert, providing bespoke feedback unique to that contract, as well as additional assistance such as agency or client liaison, and advice on clause amendments etc.

13. How quickly do I get my IR35 status result?

The Contractor Compliance Portal system provides a result instantly. Almost all results produce either an ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35 status determination, with just a few retuning a ‘borderline’ result – which requires a human to peer review. The peer review takes place within 24 business hours and provides a definitive inside or outside IR35 status determination.



14. How quickly do I get my Status Determination Statement (SDS) or IR35 Status Opinion?

Given the system produces results instantly, the SDS is generated and available (including to download) as soon as an inside or outside IR35 status determination is produced. This can be either automatically or following a borderline peer review.

15. Does the system ensure that HMRC’s ‘Reasonable Care’ requirement is met?

Yes, it does. Users of the system can be assured that the process and outcomes meet HMRC’s reasonable care requirement, making life easy for businesses to assess and manage IR35 status.

16. Is my IR35 status determination legally binding?

Whilst the system generates accurate results every time and is based on IR35 case law, the result is not legally binding. No system, not even HMRC’s CEST tool offers such a guarantee.



17. I’ve got an Inside IR35 result, what does this mean?

Firstly, don’t worry or panic. There are changes that can be implemented by proactively liaising with any of the agency, client or contractor. Once done, these changes can result in a change of IR35 status following a re-assessment. To help you, the original IR35 status assessment will have had an accompanying IR35 Status Report document issued with it, and within it there is advice highlighting how to strengthen weak areas.

18. Can an IR35 status change?

Yes, it can. This normally only occurs where there is a borderline case and where there are grey areas that need to be tightened up, which the system automatically provides advice on how to do this. IR35 is not based on a set of laws or specified regulations, it is based on key tests and case precedence, meaning there is subjectivity and interpretation to it, as proven by HMRC judges offering different opinions at tribunals as a case gets decided on and then appealed.

19. Do you liaise with agencies, clients or contractors for advice and amendments?

Whilst an IR35 status assessment provides a documented report that includes advice on how to strengthen an IR35 position, we back this up with a proactive customer service approach to assist agencies, clients and contractors. Our highly experienced team are able to advise on the issues at hand, provide improving points, as well as assist with general day to day queries.



20. Do I need to implement all the IR35 status advice and recommendations?

No. There can be a change in IR35 status by improving just a single area, but often it will be a couple of areas that need improving to see IR35 status change. The IR35 Status Report that is provided with an assessment shows a breakdown of each section that makes up the IR35 status, ranging from very good to very poor for each. Improving these very poor and poor sections is key to improving your IR35 status. It’s extremely rare to see a perfect outside IR35 status, so as long as the key IR35 status tests are good then this is the starting point for an outside IR35 status determination.

21. Do I have to pay for a re-review?

As all our IR35 status assessments are system generated they are free, meaning you can undertake as many assessments and re-reviews as you wish.

22. Does the system manage SDS disputes?

Yes. It’s only question of when, not if, a contractor in the IR35 supply chain disputes the status determination issued in an SDS.  The system lets contractors raise disputes, and clients manage and conclude these challenges, all within the required timeframes and evidenced for future use.



23. Do I need to hold IR35 insurance?

Legally, no. However, this leaves an exposure to the costly fees involved in defending an HMRC investigation, as well as potential IR35 related tax liabilities, interest and penalties they may apply at the conclusion. We find many businesses take out this insurance. Many clients and/or agencies insist on being protected against these risks via the terms contained within the written contract (often along with Professional Indemnity and Public Liability).

24. What is Fee Payer IR35 Protect insurance?

This IR35 insurance is only available via the Contractor Compliance Portal, and, when an engagement is determined to be outside IR35. The insurance covers the engagement itself and is paid for online, monthly, and for as long as the engagement lasts. Any, but only one, entity in the supply chain can purchase the insurance. Cover of £100,000 per claim for the costs of professional representation, as well as a further £100,000 per claim for the IR35 tax liabilities, interest and penalties are provided. The insurance covers all entities in the IR35 supply chain and sees the removal of the prospects of success clause – meaning that a claim is guaranteed to be accepted (unless there’s a breach of any terms and conditions of the policy).

25. What is Contractor IR35 Protect insurance?

This IR35 insurance is only available via our sister site Roots Contractor Insurance (www.rootsinsurance.co.uk), and starts at just £50.00. The insurance is an annual policy that covers contractors against the cost of an HMRC investigation into a wide range of matters, including PAYE, VAT, S660a and IR35. Cover of £100,000 per claim for the costs of professional representation is provided as standard, with the option to add on cover for £100,000 of tax liabilities, interest and penalties per claim relating to the off-payroll legislation (Chapter 10) that covers everyone in the IR35 supply chain, as well as cover for £100,000 of tax liabilities, interest and penalties per claim relating to the IR35 legislation (Chapter 8) that covers the contractors limited company. A contractor using the Contractor Compliance Portal who gets an outside IR35 determination also benefits from the removal of the prospects of success clause for any Chapter 10 claims – meaning that a claim is guaranteed to be accepted (unless there’s a breach of any terms and conditions of the policy).



26. How easy is it to administer insuring clients for the Fee Payer IR35 Protect insurance?

It’s very, very simple. Agencies and/or clients that mandate contractors to hold IR35 insurance adds extra layers of compliance and administration to an already burdensome process. We’ve made it quick and simple to make any outside IR35 engagement insured in a matter of seconds. Other systems don’t offer this functionality or will do so on a manual and cumbersome basis. We simply let you choose if you want to automatically insure every outside IR35 engagement, or if you want to specifically filter on who needs to be insured each month. The system automatically saves you time by issuing a monthly report of who is on cover, you have a change to amend it, and then payment is collected automatically – all without any human involvement. The Contractor Compliance Portal really does become an extension of your compliance team, doing the hard work for you, so that you don’t have to.

27. Will the infamous ‘Prospects of Success’ clause apply in the event of a claim?

By using the Contractor Compliance Portal to assess the IR35 status of an engagement, and where an ‘outside IR35’ SDS is produced, our Fee Payer IR35 Protect insurance has the ‘Prospects of Success’ clause automatically removed – meaning that providing everything has been answered truthfully and to the best of your knowledge, the insurance is guaranteed to pay out in the event of a claim (unless there’s a breach of any terms and conditions of the policy).

28. Can I speak to someone about my IR35 status or IR35 insurance?

There are two ways that you can contact the team, by phone and by email. We offer a free IR35 advice line for registered clients, 01509 380 365, that allows you to speak to an expert (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, excluding bank holidays) or you can email ir35@contractor-compliance.co.uk. There are also a range of guides available on the website in the IR35 Insights section.