What is the difference between IPSE Standard and Plus membership?

Patrick Carter, membership co-ordinator at IPSE, explains the benefits of the Standard and Plus memberships.

One of the most frequent questions we are asked in the membership team is what the difference is between Standard and Plus IPSE membership. In the first of my bi-weekly columns to answer questions from our members, I will explain the perks of these two membership levels.

Freelance member of IPSE at desk

Cover for any HMRC investigation

Both Standard and Plus memberships protect you and your business from any HMRC tax investigation. This includes Income Tax enquiries, VAT disputes, and of course IR35 investigations. The protection included with your membership is retrospective, meaning that you are covered for any historic enquiries too, while your membership remains valid. The difference with respect to the tax investigation representation cover is at what point in the process IPSE will get involved.

A Standard member can make a claim for representation from the ‘dispute stage’ of an investigation, essentially when an enquiry has actually been launched by HMRC. When a claim is made, we appoint an industry expert representative to fight the case for you and your IPSE membership will cover the bill.

In addition to this, Plus membership covers what are termed ‘pre tax investigation costs’. If you are a Plus member, IPSE can step in at an earlier stage giving you peace of mind that everything is taken care of from start to finish. Tax investigations are usually preceded by correspondence from HMRC, often in the form of a ‘Check of Employer Records Letter’, and we will assist a Plus member with their response to these and similar letters. Standard members must respond to these themselves, or, more often, ask their accountant to do so. A Plus member’s accountant should not be required to do anything and our intervention here is often enough to prevent an investigation from going ahead at all.

What does Plus membership offer that Standard doesn’t?

Other benefits of Plus membership that do not feature in Standard include up to £2,000 of illness or injury cover, greater levels of business interruption insurance, protection for umbrella company workers and a complementary £5,000 of additional life assurance cover.

Meanwhile, Standard membership now also includes cover for if a client goes bankrupt and defaults on a payment (up to £2,500), jury service (up to £,1500), or if an agency breaks contractual agreements with you (up to £750). Not to mention all the other benefits that have always been included with both memberships, such as our tax and legal helplines for expert advice, group life assurance and pension schemes, discounts through our partners and via IPSE Rewards, and access to all the resources on the IPSE website.

An IPSE membership offers protection, support, and so much more

So, whether you are a Standard or a Plus member, IPSE will protect you and provide you with access to all the advice, information, and tools you need to make your business a success. You also continue to support our research and campaigning work so that we can keep fighting for a fairer landscape for our members and for the self-employed community as a whole.

We are always looking for ways to improve the benefits for our members so if there is anything you would like to see included in future, or if you have any queries on the differences between our membership types, please email the membership team on [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

A full comparison of the differences between memberships can be found here.

Meet the author

Patrick Carter

Membership co-ordinator at IPSE