‘Confusion’ over forthcoming tax law changes

HMRC

More clarity and communication is needed about imminent changes to tax legislation targeting the employment status of professional drivers, according to recruiter GI Group UK.

A change to the rules surrounding anti-avoidance tax laws - IR35 – this April is intended to expose “hidden employees”.

It means hauliers must review their agency needs and decide whether a driver should be classed as a full-time staff member.

It is thought that a large number of drivers act as self-employed and use companies to manage their payments and tax affairs.

However, under the reforms, there will be a crackdown on off-payroll working, so that firms and contractors cannot avoid dodging national insurance.

But GI Group said confusion about the issue still reigns, with 84% of organisations failing to inform their drivers about the changes.

Its driver survey also found 46% of respondents do not understand what IR35 is and how it impacts contractors.

Richard Madej, Gi Group UK head of driving, said: “With uncertainty around the IR35 legislation, and as of April 2020 the responsibility for the determination of whether a role falls inside or outside of IR35 falling to the client rather than the contractor, it has never been more important for them to have complete trust in the advice they receive.”

Licence suspension for fitting AdBlue device

A Sutton Coldfield haulier which claimed an AdBlue emulator was fitted to one of its vehicles while it was on hire to another company has had its O-licence suspended for a week.

Traffic Commissioner Nicholas Denton said that on the balance of probabilities, Bridmin fitted the device to its lorry and he struggled to see any motivation for Wales Environmental to do so while it was hiring the vehicle. 

The lorry was stopped at the roadside by the DVSA in April 2018 and the emulator was found fitted to it.

At a Birmingham PI, Bridmin said the vehicle had been repaired by a DAF dealer, Imperial Commercials, on 12 March 2018 and no trace of it was found then.

The same vehicle was repaired on 27 March by the same dealer and the AdBlue device was discovered then.

However, Imperial insisted that Bridmin requested it was left in situ – a claim denied by the haulier, which said it must have been fitted between 12 and 27 March, when Wales Environmental had the vehicle on hire.

Imperial depot manager Martin Jones remained adamant that the dealership had spoken to someone at Bridmin who told them to leave the emulator in place.

In his written decision, the TC said: “I struggle to see why Imperial should invent such a claim if it were not true, since Bridmin not Wales Environmental was their regular customer whom they would be unlikely to alienate by making serious but untrue allegations.”

Taking into account Bridmin was otherwise compliant, Denton suspended the licence and said the repute of transport manager David Bridges had been tarnished.