HMRC calls time on rogue construction industry recruiters

Accountants may be interested to read that construction workers are to come under the spotlight as HMRC continues its crackdown on false self-employment.

Last month the Revenue announced it was hiring an additional 100 inspectors to seek out agencies that it believes are dodging income tax payments of up to £500m. Now it has confirmed that the tax status of workers will be also be examined as part of the campaign.

The news with welcomed by union chiefs who said they were delighted that HMRC was cracking down on agencies that wrongly apply the laws relating to employment status in order to avoid the payment employers National Insurance and other benefits.

False self-employment is common-place in recruitment agencies specialising in construction jobs and costs the taxpayer millions every year. Employment agencies have to realise that they can no longer deny workers basic employment rights by falsely claiming they are self-employed, the acting general secretary of the union Ucatt, said.

Representatives of the construction industry’s self employed workers have vowed to assist the Revenue to track-down rip-off firms that con builders.

Dave Simpson, a spokesman for the Freelance Builders, said he has first-hand experience of gangmasters and PAYE umbrella companies that pay workers net of tax and then vanish into thin air without remitting the money to HMRC.

He went on to say that it was quite easy to distinguish rogue providers and that Freelance Builders will be happy to pass on their details in they suspect fraudulent behaviour.

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