Can my carer be self-employed?
"Can't I just ask my carer to sort out their own tax?" this is a question we're frequently asked by service users. Whether someone is employed or self-employed depends on the terms and conditions of their work. It is important for all employees to know their employment status as it affects employment and benefit rights, and how to pay tax and National Insurance Contributions.
It is equally important that you, as the employer, are absolutely certain whether your carer is employed or self-employed.
How to determine employment status
A worker is probably considered employed if they:
- have to do the work themselves
- can be told at any time what to do, where to carry out the work or when and how to do it
- work a set amount of hours
- can be moved from task to task
- are paid by the hour, week or month
- can be paid overtime or receive bonus payments
A worker is probably considered self-employed if they:
- can hire someone else to do their work or engage helpers at their own expense
- risk their own money
- provide the main items of equipment needed to do their job, not just the small tools that many employees provide for themselves
- agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of how long the job may take
- can decide what work to do, how and when to do the work and where to provide the services
- regularly work for a number of people
- have to correct unsatisfactory work in their own time and at their own expense
*Please note that these lists are not exhaustive.
The exception to the rule
It's clear to see that in most cases carers do not meet HMRC's criteria for self-employment. However in some circumstances HMRC may grant self-employment status, for example, if the carer works in a series of temporary positions. If you take on a carer who was previously self-employed it is advisable to contact HMRC and request confirmation in writing that their status still applies in the new position.
The transfer of self-employment status between jobs is not automatic, and each situation should be considered individually. This is the employer's responsibility, and if written confirmation from HMRC is not sought and it later comes to light that the carer is not self-employed, then it is the employer, not the carer who will pursued for unpaid taxes.