Information on the on going IR35 Campaign
We know as committee members that we need to hear concerns that affect all members of crew within the Art, Set Dec, Graphics and Drapes department and a large proportion of us have taken the decision to be responsible for calculating our own tax contributions, either through invoicing as a PSC (personal service company / Ltd.) or working as a sole trader, rather then being on the studio PAYE system.
Doing the work we do and also keeping up with changes in tax law, IR35 updates, SEISS or even just assessing whether you are still benefiting from managing your own affairs can be difficult. Our goal is create a flow of information where you can pick up Film & TV specific updates on changes to government policy that affect you, explaining complicated terminology and answering directly the questions you put to us.
You may not know it, but BECTU can answer many of your questions and has access to specialist legal and administrative advice on these TAX topics. We have several members of our current committee attending meetings and webinars if you can’t make them and will keep an eye out and feedback updates from these.
Lastly on a specific point, many of you will have concerns on IR35 which is temporarily gone from the news but not forgotten. Current government plans are to roll out IR35 in April 2021 and we will be lobbying for changes to the CEST online tool to work better for true freelancers such as us in the film industry, as well as continuing to push for extending the list of grades covered by the HMRC guidance to productions to include all job titles in the department.
What is IR35 and why does it exist?
Due to the effects of COVID-19, IR35 implementation has been postponed until April 2021.
IR35 is a change to TAX legislation designed to combat tax avoidance by workers (disguised employees) and employers. A blanket approach across all industries.
The change moves the risk of determination of eligibility to be ‘off-Payroll’ from the ‘worker’ to the ‘employer’ and so with it the risk.
Who is affected in the film industry? If you invoice for your rate as a:
Ltd Company - Sole Trader - Self Employed
Film & TV industry has a special relationship with HMRC (defining tax position by job title)
The HMRC Employment Status Manual (Appendix 1 List) is a list of job titles / grades that are pre-determined by HMRC as eligible job titles that can be employed ‘off-payroll’
This list has existed for some time and been used by production accountants to determine whether ‘Self-Employed’ crew members can come on to the production as such. Ltd companies until now have not been scrutinized the same way, but this will change.
What changed in 2019?
In 2019, BECTU provided HMRC with a full list of Grades, job descriptions & indicators from HMRC guidance for determining ‘off payroll’ worker, for Art Department, Set Dec & Graphics.
December 2019 – HMRC released Film, TV & Production Guidance document adding grades/titles (Replacement document for Appendix 1 List)
Since December further changes have taken place to add more grades to the list but without announcement from HMRC.
Although list of grades is the first port of call for productions, HMRC recognise is it not complete:
“This list is not exhaustive. If the individual is not on this list it does not necessarily mean they are an employee. HMRC and engagers in the industry should use the full range of employment status indicators to decide the status of people not on this list.” GOV.uk website
If your grade/job title does not get on to the list there is still hope. The HMRC Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) test is an online test that HMRC has said will honour the result of if questions are answered honestly and detail provided to employers to review. Since we have not had the law change this has not been tested with productions yet. If when the time comes you do find that production are not taking the CEST result guidance then contact the BECTU reps.
HMRC issued: Film, TV & Production Guidance Document
GRADES / JOB TITLES currently on HMRC Film, TV & Production Guidance:
HEAD OF ART DEPARTMENT
STANDBY ART DIRECTOR
VFX ART DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR
DRAUGHTSPERSON / SET DESIGNER
ILLUSTRATOR (*REQUESTED TO AMMEND TO CONCEPT ARTIST !!!)
ANIMATRONIC MODEL DESIGNER
DIGITAL SET DESIGNER
3D SET DESIGNER
PRODUCTION BUYER / GREENS BUYER
SET DRESSER (*SUGGESTION TO AMMEND TO INCLUDE /ASSISTANT SET DECORATOR)
SCENIC / BACKGROUND ARTIST
See the full list, which lists job titles from other departments across the industry, here:
Roles marked with an asterisk * in column B of ‘Appendix 1’ defines the Grade is acceptable as off-payroll if the engagement is on a specific production for a finite period. There are definitions of these terms and more information on the .gov website.
What can you do if your job title is not on the list?
We do have a list of grades we are already aware of - let us know on the Art Department Committee and we will lobby to add your grade.
CEST online test may be acceptable for production accountants if presented on starting job.
HMRC has a special branch contact number for Film and TV workers, contact details here:
The HMRC Film Production Unit can be contacted on 0300 123 2326