'This review is very limited in scope and restricted by the pressure to report back by next month. There's also a lingering suspicion that this is a case of the Government marking its own homework.
'The review also appears to dash any hopes that there will be a change to the implementation date of 6 April 2020.
'This poses a particular problem in that the final legislation won't be available until the Budget on 11 March. When the existing rules were first introduced in the public sector in April 2017, the final legislation was only made available immediately prior to introduction. This caused implementation headaches for public sector bodies and contractors, and there's a danger of history repeating itself here.
'Crucially, the review will include the HMRC Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool as well as exploring whether there are any further steps that could be taken to support organisations in correctly determining employment status. Even though the Government has recently launched a new version of the CEST, there remain concerns that it doesn’t fully take account of case law and appears to be weighted towards producing certain outcomes which aren’t always right.
'It is good to hear that HMRC will continue its comprehensive programme of education and support activities, but the Revenue will need additional resources to make up for the time lost during the pre-election purdah period.
'It is still possible that some of the more onerous obligations of the new rules, such as the transfer of debt provisions, may be watered down ahead of the final legislation being issued, but those holding out for wholesale change are likely to be disappointed.'