On Thursday 28 January 2016 the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Finance jointly launched a public consultation process (the “consultation”) concerning the use of intermediary-type structures and self-employment arrangements.

The consultation will focus on the following arrangements:

  1. Where an individual, who would otherwise be an employee, establishes a company to provide his or her services; and
  2. where an individual, who is dependent on, under the control of, a single employer in the same manner as an employee is classified as a self-employed individual.

Both Ministers emphasised that the arrangements which are the subject of the consultation should be distinguished from the fairly common situation in which a genuinely self-employed individual either operates as a sole trader, through a partnership or incorporates his or her business.  They made it clear that the consultation does not affect those situations.

Tánaiste Joan Burton stated that the Department of Social Protection is concerned about “the increasing evidence of self-employment arrangements which undermine workers’ benefit entitlements and increase the burden on compliant taxpayers. In particular, it is absolutely essential that employment arrangements which undermine workers’ rights are not tolerated or allowed take hold in our economy. Therefore I welcome this joint consultation which is a good opportunity to ensure fairness for workers and legitimate businesses alike.”

The purpose of the consultation is to invite submissions from interested parties on possible measures to address the loss to the Exchequer in tax and PRSI that may arise under the arrangements mentioned above. 

Responses to the Consultation must be submitted to the Department of Finance by 5:30 pm, Thursday 31 March 2016.  

Access the press release on the Consultation here.

Read the Consultation paper here.