Hudson Contract has questioned whether enhancements to HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool will be enough to remove doubt from determinations.
The online calculator is designed to show whether individuals on specific engagements should be classed as employed or self-employed for tax purposes.
The previous version of CEST was widely criticised as unfit for purpose ahead of changes to off-payroll working rules in April 2020.
Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “We have studied it from the perspective of our limited company clients and they have all emerged as compliant with IR35 legislation.
“The tool is more comprehensive than the last version, but I was left feeling the answers to some questions are not as simple as ‘yes or no’.
“Users are forced to given binary answers to open questions, which has to cause concern over the accuracy of determinations.”
HMRC wrote to stakeholders yesterday to tell them about the enhancements to the CEST tool, which is now live at Gov.UK.
The department also published specific guidance to provide users with greater clarity on the factors used to make determinations.
From the next financial year, companies will be responsible for deciding the status of individual professionals and liable for any tax and national insurance contributions.