Off Payroll Working changes from April 2021

HMRC introduced the ‘Off Payroll Working’ (OPW) rules in the public sector back in April 2017, and similar changes are coming to the private sector from April 2021.

What’s changing?

Under the OPW rules (also known as IR35), the responsibility for determining employment status becomes the responsibility of the end client, and the responsibility for making PAYE/NIC deductions to the “fee payer” (currently both responsibilities rest with the worker and their Personal Service Company).

The OPW rule changes caused a great deal of confusion when rolled out in 2017 to the public sector, and the same is anticipated with the private sector roll out in 2021. HMRC have issued plenty of guidance, but many questions and uncertainty remain.

How can we help?

It is important that businesses take action well ahead of April 2021 to carry out employment status audits and, if necessary, change the way they recruit and engage with consultants. Given the right approach and sufficient planning ahead, it may be possible in some cases to maintain a flexible workforce that remains outside of the OPW rules.

Our Employment Status review service helps you to:


  • Identify any consultants you use who might be affected by the changes
  • Perform a detailed review of those consultants’ status (reviewing both the contractual and the day-to-day working arrangements)


As part of our service, we prepare a Report of our status findings, identifying the key risk areas and making recommendations ahead of the April 2021 changes so you are well prepared when the changes come into force.

We have considerable experience within Garbutt + Elliott on both employment status and IR35 matters. Please contact for further details.