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Contractors who have been unable to determine their IR35 status using the online CEST tool provided by HMRC are being urged to speak to a professional rather than turning to another online option.

IR35 Navigator CEO Chris Mattingly is one of those who has recommended this to contract workers. His advice follows the latest figures released by HRMC, which show that the percentage of people using CEST who have been provided with an unclear result has risen to 22%. The CEO went on to state that the number of people left in that position after checking their status via the CEST tool has been rising consistently since HMRC launched it.

Speaking to Contractor UK, Mattingly argued that this was proof that online checking options such as CEST were simply not reliable enough, before adding:

“The only real way to achieve certainty is to have an expert assessment, where the full facts of the engagement can be properly considered.”

An example of this kind of human assessment would be to use accountants in Goole and other parts of the country that are experts in IR35 and other tax matters.

Rebecca Seeley Harris, a lawyer who founded ReLegal Consulting and who specialises in dealing with tax, supported Mattingly’s assessment of CEST.

Harris then pointed out that when it comes to an issue as complex as employment tax status, talking to a human with real knowledge of the subject will always be a better option, as the costs for individuals who get it wrong can be very high.

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