On 22 June 2017, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published an updated paper on tax issues for the “gig” economy. Quoting a dictionary definition of the term, the paper describes the gig economy as one which involves a way of working that “is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for an employer”.

Whilst the paper stops short of making recommendations, it raises a number of issues designed to “promote discussion”, including:

• VAT: the paper highlights that certain organisations operating within the gig economy may be gaining a competitive advantage by not charging VAT (as compared to other providers adopting a more traditional structure)

• the much-discussed difference in NICs treatment between the self-employed and employed

• the possibility that the “hirer” could be required to withhold PAYE/NICs, or some other amount, from the fees they pay for the service provided.

The OTS paper can be viewed here