The Importance of a Supply Chain Audit in IR35 Compliance

In the ever-evolving landscape of workforce regulations and compliance, IR35 has emerged as a critical concern for businesses that engage independent contractors and freelancers. In the wake of IR35, it has become crucial for businesses to conduct supply chain audits to ensure compliance and mitigate potential risks. In this blog, we will delve into the reasons why a supply chain audit is essential when it comes to IR35.

Understanding the IR35 Regulations

The IR35 legislation can be complex and difficult to navigate, especially for organisations unfamiliar with its intricacies. Conducting a supply chain audit enables businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of the IR35 regulations and how they apply to their specific operations. This includes correctly identifying the employment status of each individual working in the supply chain, whether they are considered employees or self-employed contractors for tax purposes.

Risk Mitigation

Non-compliance with IR35 can result in severe financial and reputational consequences for businesses. Failing to properly assess the employment status of workers and not deducting the appropriate taxes can lead to penalties and potential legal disputes with HMRC. By conducting a supply chain audit, companies can identify areas of potential risk and take necessary actions to ensure compliance, thus avoiding costly penalties and damages to their reputation.

Contractual and Operational Adjustments

A supply chain audit not only assesses employment status but also evaluates the contracts and working practices within the supply chain. It helps identify any clauses or practices that may inadvertently create an employment relationship and increase the risk of IR35 non-compliance. Following the audit, businesses can make informed contractual and operational adjustments to minimise the possibility of falling foul of the IR35 rules.

Assessing all suppliers

Compliance isn’t just important for you but for the supplier you associate with. As the hirer you need to meticulously assess all suppliers, recruiters, and service providers within the supply chain, as any non-compliant actions can have far-reaching consequences. For instance, if a supplier you work with sub-contracts your work out to another supplier and you aren’t aware this can cause problems if the business isn’t compliant. This liability could then cascade back up the supply chain, ultimately landing on the hirer’s shoulders. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the hirer to exercise due diligence at every level of the supply chain to avoid potential financial and legal liabilities stemming from non-compliance with IR35 regulations.

In conclusion, IR35 compliance is a critical responsibility for businesses operating in the UK. Failing to comply with the regulations can lead to financial losses, penalties, and damaged relationships with contractors and clients. By conducting a thorough supply chain audit, businesses can accurately assess employment status, identify potential risks, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with IR35 rules. Taking proactive steps toward compliance not only protects the business but also demonstrates a commitment to ethical and responsible workforce management.

Speak to Brookson

There’s a lot that you need to be aware of when you are the hirer in the supply chain, as well as all the points above you need to consider other legislations such as the Criminal Finance Act, MSC Legislation and Tax Avoidance Schemes.

If you are unsure or don’t know where to start with your supply chain, get in touch with Brookson to learn more about our supply chain audits and how we can support your business.