Majority of contractors unhappy with IR35 CEST tool

(2 minutes to read)

New report reveals 81% of contractors would be deterred from working through a recruitment agency or for a client in the private sector if CEST was the only IR35 status method used.

With many industry experts predicting that it’s only a matter of time before the government extend the recent public sector IR35 changes to the private sector, contractors have expressed how unhappy they are with the CEST tool.

According to the Qdos Contractor data, which compiled it’s report after surveying 1,500 self-employed workers, as many as 81% would be less likely to work with private sector organisations that rely solely on CEST (Check Employment Status for Tax) to determine a contractor’s status.

This outlook is to be expected after seeing how IR35 changes have had such a negative impact on the public sector.

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Qdos Contractor CEO, Seb Maley, commented “All the signs point towards the announcement of private sector IR35 reform this year. So that 81 per cent of contractors would rather not work through a recruitment agency or for a client using only CEST poses a real threat to staffing in the sector.

“Question marks still remain over CEST’s reliability, and understandably, contractors do not want to be wrongly placed inside IR35 and therefore made to pay similar taxes to an employee, but without any of the benefits.

“IR35 is a particularly complex tax legislation and should private sector changes go-ahead, agencies and clients must reassess the way in which they make IR35 decisions. After all, CEST is not mandatory and independent assessments are perfectly acceptable.”

To find out more about contracting please contact Jaime on 01442 795 100 or email

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