Worker status

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Employment law has developed to acknowledge that some individuals are not self-employed or employed, but are “workers” with some limited employment rights.  In tax law there are still only two statuses: employed or self-employed.  If an individual is a worker for employment law they are likely, but not necessarily, they will be self-employed for tax purposes.

The key tests for employment status for tax purposes remain:

Control – the payer has a right to control the work methods of the individual

Personal service – the individual must do the work themselves

Mutual obligation – there is an ongoing relationship

If these characteristics are present then the relationship is employment.  Otherwise it is self-employment.  The problem is these tests are neither clear not definitive.  There is constant revision as to what these tests mean and the importance of other factors such as a business-like approach to work.  More details are on our employment status factsheet.  The government are currently consulting and may introduce a statutory employment test, until then there will be ongoing uncertainty for many people as to their employment status.