The RIFT Reputation: What it is, How we earned it and Why it matters


When you’re searching for the right protection for your business, it’s critical to know who to trust. HMRC employment status challenges are only going to get more frequent and aggressive as time goes on.

With unions like Unite throwing the full weight of their resources into cracking down on companies on the wrong side of this complex and often misunderstood legislation, there’s a serious risk that the knowingly guilty and the simply unwary are going to be snatched up in the same net.

In HMRC’s eyes, it doesn’t matter why you’re in breach of the law. It doesn’t even matter whether you know you’re breaking the rules. The same hammer’s going to fall either way.

That’s why its so important to get your employment status house in order now.

Know who you’re dealing with

Choosing the right provider to defend your business has always been a challenge. Complicating things further, there’s been a rush of new companies offering employment status advice without any real track record of getting it right.

The first thing you’ll need to do is start asking lots of questions. If the provider you’re looking at can’t demonstrate that they know the legal territory you’re trusting them with, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Remember to ask about:

  • Previous challenges they’ve successfully defended on employment status and agency legislation.
  • The details of how their service offers real protection, rather than just a false sense of security.
  • Do they offer insurance, including full legal indemnity, against liabilities if HMRC successfully challenges the position you took based on their advice? If so do you know how it all works and who underwrites it?
  • What was their background before setting up the company and do they have experience in defending HMRC enquiries?

Make sure it all adds up

It’s all very well getting vague assurances and bold promises, but none of that matters if your provider can’t back it up.

The legislation around employment status is hard to navigate, and if they’re not up to date with its latest changes then you’ll never have the protection you’re paying for.

A key factor to grasp is the issue of Supervision, Direction and Control. Due to the nature of the legislation around self-employment and agencies, providers can only treat people as self-employed under strictly limited conditions. Getting this right means taking an extremely detailed look at your business and workforce.

If your provider simply asks you to tick a box to confirm you aren’t in direct control of the people working for you, it’s a red flag warning that they haven’t done their homework and a pretty safe bet that their assessment of your compliance won’t stand up.

What’s worse is that by making such statements, you could remain liable to HMRC.

Safety with RIFT

RIFT has spent the last 20 years building a reputation for successfully tackling HMRC on behalf of UK construction.

From tax refunds and Self-Assessment to protection against formal enquiries, RIFT are the UK’s leading experts in keeping businesses on the right side of the taxman and the law.

Our founder, Jan Post, saw the current employment status crisis coming and assembled a specialist team to tackle it. Today, that team includes:

  • Dave Smith LL.B (Hons), CTA:
    A leading authority on employment status, and one of the most successful advisers to defend IR35 and employment status at the tax tribunals. Dave worked at HMRC as a status inspector many years ago and following a spell in practice, he co-founded Accountax Consulting Limited in 1999 with the aim of defending the Construction Industry from HMRC attack.
  • Sarah Carstens ATT MAAT:
    Previously worked at  some of the UK’s top tax consultancies, with a track record of successfully  defending CIS gross payment status and umbrella company challenges.
  • Kye Burchmore:
    A specialist in defending employment status disputes, IR35 enquires and expenses legislation challenges. Kye has contributed to the leading tax publishers such as Bloomsbury Tax, Tolleys and Lexis Nexis.

RIFT has close relationships with HMRC and unions, and we stand behind our work. In the highly unlikely event that we’re unable to defend your position against an HMRC challenge, we still keep your business protected. That means, as long as the information you’ve given us is correct, we would pay all liabilities ourselves, at no cost to you.

Free of charge review

If you are unsure how much protection you get from your current provider, RIFT Legal Services can provide you with a free of charge review of how you operate so you know exactly where you stand and how much protection you have.

Contact RIFT Legal Services to get your business the protection it needs, and download our white paper, “Surviving the employment status crackdown” for more information .