It was announced in the 2016 Budget that those working through an umbrella company (or similar intermediary), and who are subject to Supervision, Direction or Control (SDC), will no longer be able to claim Travel and Subsistence expenses from 6 April. We will discuss SDC in accordance to HMRC, and help you determine whether you are subject to it.
SDC is designed to determine whether you, as the worker, have the freedom to choose how you do your job or instead if somebody has the power of authority over you and is responsible for dictating how the work is carried out; thus imposing control and subjecting you to supervision/direction. The following definitions have been created by HMRC to help determine the meaning of Supervision, Direction or Control:
…is someone overseeing a person doing work, to ensure that person is doing the work they are required to do and it is being done correctly to the required standard. Supervision can also involve helping the person where appropriate in order to develop their skills and knowledge.
…is someone making a person do his/her work in a certain way by providing them with instructions, guidance or advice as to how the work must be done. Someone providing direction will often coordinate how the work is done as it is being undertaken.
…is someone dictating what work a person does and how they go about doing that work. Control also includes someone having the power to move the person from one job to another.
HMRC have produced some example scenarios to further explain how SDC is determined. We have summarised two below for workers from different industries. You can view further examples from HMRC here.
Paul the IT Consultant
Paul is an IT Consultant who designs websites for businesses.
Scenario 1 – not subject to SDC
An agency has offered him an interview with a clothes retailer regarding a 14 day project. The clothes retailer are looking for a website designer to build a brand new website that must be completed before the end of the engagement. Paul gets the 14 day job and is told he will have complete freedom, from the first hour to the last. He will be allowed to design the entire website and publish it, without anyone being able to intervene to instruct Paul what the website must look like or how it must be created. He has been offered a desk at the clothes retailer if he would like to work there, but there was no obligation.
Paul decides to work at the clothes retailer on some days, and at home for some too. When he works at the clothes retailer, nobody disturbs him all day, and he is provided with a PC. The company have not asked Paul to provide updates, but through courtesy, he provides a seven day summary of progress. On day 11, Paul completes the website. He then continues to monitor the site and make small amendments until everything is completed to his satisfaction on day 14, when the project comes to an end.
In this scenario, Paul was told he would be given complete freedom from the offset, and that nobody would interrupt him until the work was complete. Nobody had told Paul how to do his job and therefore, he has not been subject to Supervision, Direction or Control.
Scenario 2 – subject to SDC
Paul is offered a five day job by a recruitment agency, to join a company’s IT department as a specialist. The company’s IT Manager will be responsible for overseeing Paul’s work and supervising to ensure it is done correctly. Paul will be based at the company’s trading address.
On day one, Paul is asked by the IT Manager to update the company’s website with new retail products. He is provided with detailed information from the IT Manager, and is overseen carrying out the updates. Paul is asked to shorten some of the descriptions he has written. The updates take three days.
On day four, Paul heads to the company’s Head Office to help the IT Manager gather some performance figures for the last six months. Paul is told to extract sales numbers from the company database and is overshadowed by the IT Manager to ensure it is done correctly. Paul then collates an Excel document with the IT Manager monitoring his progress and providing support. This take two days to complete.
In this scenario, the company made it clear to Paul he would be under supervision from the IT Manager. He was also under control as the IT Manager told Paul what jobs to carry out. From the very outset of this arrangement Paul has been subject to a right of supervision, direction or control.
To read Paul’s full story, please click here.
Sarah the Locum Pharmacist
Sarah is a fully qualified pharmacist.
Scenario 1 – not subject to SDC
Sarah prefers to work as a locum pharmacist because of the regular work, flexibility and various locations. She obtains her work through a recruitment agency. Sarah accepts a job from the recruitment agency to provide three weeks cover in a privately run shop/pharmacy. The proprietor tells Sarah she would be working in the pharmacy at the rear of the shop and will be dispensing prescriptions to customers and giving them advice when approached. The shop also has two sales assistants who will deal with sales, distribute prescriptions to the customers and assist Sarah as necessary. It is agreed Sarah will take the engagement.
Sarah works for three weeks dispensing prescriptions and giving advice to customers. She also monitors stock levels and instructs the sales staff to order new stock if required.
During her engagement, Sarah was not subject to any supervision or direction from anyone. She was the most experienced employee in the pharmacy and was not required to answer to the sales staff, as they were not qualified to oversee her responsibilities. Nobody was at the Pharmacy to control how she did her work, and she did not need this. Therefore, Sarah was not subject to Supervision, Direction or Control.
Scenario 2 – subject to SDC
If Sarah’s arrangement been different and she had been hired to assist the proprietor/chief pharmacist, dispense prescriptions, work with the sales staff, stock shelves and order stock, the proprietor/chief pharmacist would have had a right to subject Sarah to Supervision, Direction or Control as to the manner in which she provided her services.
To read Sarah’s full story, please click here.
If you are still unsure whether or not you are subject to Supervision, Direction or Control, please give our expert team a call on 020 7078 0212. Alternatively, you can contact us here.