HMRC release Employment Status Service (ESS)


HMRC's long awaited online tool - the Employment Status Service (ESS) is now available. The tool is designed to provide clarity around IR35 status and has been released now to assist public sector clients and agencies in making IR35 determinations. You can access the tool here:

The status of many public sector contracts will be decided by this tool. If you work in the public sector, we advise you use the tool now. Be as accurate as you can with the information you put into it. 

It's completely anonymous - there will be no record that you've used the tool. At the end you have an option to download and print the outcome, along with the questions and the answers you gave.

If the tool determines IR35 does not apply to your engagement, show the results to your client and/or agency.

If they agree that the information inputted is accurate, there is no reason why your business shouldn't be able to carry on being paid gross. (If IR35 is deemed to apply, tax will be deducted at source, as it is for employees).

At the moment it is too early to ascertain how accurate the tool is. We’d love to hear how you get on so please contact us on [email protected].

Additional guidance has also been published, available here:

Meet the author

Andy Chamberlain

Director of Policy and External Affairs