PSTAX Employment Taxes Training Course: Employment Status Service (ESS) – Achieving the right outcome

PSTAX Employment Taxes Training Course: Employment Status Service (ESS) – Achieving the right outcome


Venue: RAF Club, London W1J 7PY

Date: Friday 5 May 2017

Due to a significant number of queries received about HMRC’s new on lineEmployment Status Service (ESS) tool, we will be running a half-day morning course from 9.30 to 1pm on understanding this new service and ensuring that the right outcomes are achieved in using it.


With effect from 6 April 2017 public bodies are required to deduct and remit tax and National Insurance Contributions from payments made to an intermediary where, but for that intermediary, the person providing services to the Council would otherwise be an employee. Public bodies also have continuing responsibilities to assess the employment status of workers who don’t use intermediaries, ie sole traders. Given the extensive use of intermediaries and ‘self-employed’ individuals within the sector, these obligations have a major impact, both in terms of the resource requirements to ensure compliance and the additional costs arising.


HMRC has introduced the ESS tool to assist engagers in reaching the correct decision on employment status -whether an intermediary is used or not – and this has replaced the previous Employment Status Indicator (ESI) tool. HMRC has said that it will accept the outcome of the ESS, as long as the information provided in completing it is correct. If not, it has the right to recover tax that should have been deducted for up to 20 years. Therefore, it is vital that the questions are answered honestly and accurately by the public body.


However, we are finding that many of the questions asked in the ESS are potentially open to misinterpretation and this could have a material outcome on the decision of the tool regarding the worker’s status. Therefore, in this course, we seek to clarify how each of the questions should be interpreted based  on longstanding principles established by case law, to help reach the correct outcome and to minimise the risk of a tax and National Insurance Contributions (NIC), interest and penalty liability to the public body.


Examples of the areas we will we consider are:


·         What constitutes a genuine right of substitution?

·         What types of expenses incurred by the worker would be sufficient to demonstrate genuine financial risk?

·         How should the questions on the level of control exercised over the worker be interpreted?

·         What does interacting with clients and customers mean?


The first part of the course will focus on using a live demonstration of the service using various scenarios to demonstrate the five different outcomes that the tool can produce. Thereafter, we will then consider what steps the public body can reasonably take to mitigate the risks, eg by reviewing contractual terms and working practices.


We recommend this course for:


·         Finance/Payroll/HR/Accounts Payable personnel at all levels within the organisation, but especially those tasked with taking responsibility for the revised procedures/processes

·         Those currently tasked with determining employed/self-employed status on a daily basis

·         Procurement personnel looking to adapt current procedures to cope with the changes going forward.


Due to the anticipated demand for this course, we strongly recommend early booking. The cost is £250 per delegate including the cost of lunch and refreshments (reduced to £225 per delegate for PSTAX Club members). Please note that organisations booking three or more places will receive a 10% discount.


To book on the course, please email with the details of your delegates and a PO if necessary.


For information, advice or support  regarding the intermediary rules, please contact:


Duncan Groves       07715 666754

John Harling          07768 446381

Peter Minchinton   07484 277870