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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Finance: Taxing matters

New tax laws will hit the UK fitness sector in early April, changing the way freelance PTs are legally classified for income tax and national insurance, as Abi Harris reports

By Abigail Harris | Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 3
New tax laws will impact the way operators transact with fitness professionals / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund
New tax laws will impact the way operators transact with fitness professionals / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund

IR35 - four simple characters with a big impact for operators in the health and fitness industry. As the Chancellor left all mention of this impending tax change out of his March budget, this means private sector IR35 tax reforms officially hit our sector in April.

What is IR35?
IR35 is new tax legislation that means private sector employers will be responsible for assessing whether or not contractors need to pay income tax and national insurance contributions.

It will also compel operators to seek out ‘disguised employees’, or contractors with a permanent position at a company, who don’t pay the same income tax or national insurance contributions (NIC) as standard employees.

The purpose of IR35 is to collect the same amount of tax and National Insurance Contributions as would have been paid if an individual was employed directly.

It’s widely believed that IR35 changes could be disastrous for the self-employed, who are likely to be hit with additional costs, while companies – already grappling with the ongoing fallout from COVID-19 – will need to assess the likely impact of the new legislation on their businesses and move to accommodate the change.

What it means for our sector
IR35 will apply where personal trainers or instructors provide services to an organisation through an intermediary company, such as Joe Bloggs PT Services Ltd, or are supplied via an employment agency/business. The question to ask is ”if it wasn’t for that company in the middle, would the individual be regarded as an employee/worker for tax and NIC purposes?”

Health club and leisure centre operators engaging ‘off-payroll’ PTs and instructors via an intermediary will be responsible for determining their employment status and paying Income Tax and NICs for those deemed employees.

Aaron McCulloch is MD of Your Personal Training (YPT), which supports PTs and gym operators to deliver personal training services. He says: “Many PTs work in clubs as ‘off-payroll’ gym or class instructors via their own limited company in lieu of paying floor rent to operate their business; it’s been standard practice in our sector for many years.

“They’re often required to carry out inductions, group exercise classes or even cleaning, and would typically have to ask for time off and work their PT business around a shift rota set by the club.

“If a PT or instructor is obliged to deliver a set number of regular working hours and are told when, where and how they must do this, it’s likely HMRC would deem them an employee.”

Law firm, Irwin Mitchell, has been supporting companies dealing with IR35 across a number of sectors and senior associate, Padma Tadi, says: “The financial impact can be significant; amounting to thousands of pounds in additional income tax and NICs for every contractor HMRC would deem to be an employee.

“Operators will be responsible for deducting and passing on these charges, as well managing the increased costs and responsibilities attached to employment rights to which the individual may be entitled.

“The legislation applies to all invoices and payments made after 6 April 2021,” she says, “even if the work is carried out before that date and when passed on to PTs or instructors, this could reduce their net income by up to 25 per cent.”

The good news is these changes only apply to freelancers providing services via an intermediary company and they won’t apply to small organisations which don’t meet at least two of the following criteria:

● Annual turnover of more than £10.2 million

● Balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million

● More than 50 (F/T equivalent) employees

However, Tadi advises: “Beware when looking at size. If you’re part of a corporate group, the overall group turnover must be considered, or you may still fall within the scope.”

“Preparation is key, because assessing each team member and introducing and actioning appropriate policies and procedures can be extremely time consuming,” warns McCulloch.

"The financial impact can be significant, amounting to thousands of pounds in additional income tax and NICs for every contractor HMRC would deem to be an employee" – Padma Tadi, Irwin Mitchell

"If a PT or instructor is obliged to deliver a set number of regular working hours and are told when, where and how they must do this, it’s likely HMRC would deem them an employee" – Aaron McCulloch, Your Personal Training

8 steps to compliance
Aaron McCulloch, Your Personal Training

1. Establish whether you fall within the definition of ‘small’. If so, you won’t ever need to make changes, provided you remain small.

2. Identify freelancers who operate via an intermediary and provide a status determination for each. Consider how often they work for you, whether they provide their own kit and if they work for other gyms.

3. Decide who in the team will be responsible for determining the status of freelancers. If they need training to understand how to make a proper assessment, HMRC has an online tool (known as CEST) to assist, but it has been subject to criticism for giving some inaccurate outcomes, so we advise also seeking professional advice.

4. Freelance PTs and instructors may challenge the status you allocate. Decide how you’ll deal with those appeals and how you’ll comply with the time limits (you have 45 days to respond to any appeal with your findings).

5. Will tax and NICs which are due be an additional cost for you, or can you renegotiate so this is factored into the PTs’ rates?

6. Review how the payment processes will work. The PTs’ invoices will need to be split between fee and VAT, with PAYE and NIC calculated on the fee and with a net payment made to the PTs and PAYE/NIC to HMRC.

7. Establish whether you need to set up a separate PAYE scheme to handle payments – they must be processed under the real-time information (RTI) arrangements.

8. Advise instructors you’re reviewing your processes. You may want to ask them to become employees if they are critical to your operation.

Each team member could need to be assessed / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund
Each team member could need to be assessed / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/116509_817885.jpg
New tax law, IR35, is changing the way employers treat tax and national insurance payments for freelance staff such as PTs
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features

Finance: Taxing matters

New tax laws will hit the UK fitness sector in early April, changing the way freelance PTs are legally classified for income tax and national insurance, as Abi Harris reports

By Abigail Harris | Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 3
New tax laws will impact the way operators transact with fitness professionals / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund
New tax laws will impact the way operators transact with fitness professionals / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund

IR35 - four simple characters with a big impact for operators in the health and fitness industry. As the Chancellor left all mention of this impending tax change out of his March budget, this means private sector IR35 tax reforms officially hit our sector in April.

What is IR35?
IR35 is new tax legislation that means private sector employers will be responsible for assessing whether or not contractors need to pay income tax and national insurance contributions.

It will also compel operators to seek out ‘disguised employees’, or contractors with a permanent position at a company, who don’t pay the same income tax or national insurance contributions (NIC) as standard employees.

The purpose of IR35 is to collect the same amount of tax and National Insurance Contributions as would have been paid if an individual was employed directly.

It’s widely believed that IR35 changes could be disastrous for the self-employed, who are likely to be hit with additional costs, while companies – already grappling with the ongoing fallout from COVID-19 – will need to assess the likely impact of the new legislation on their businesses and move to accommodate the change.

What it means for our sector
IR35 will apply where personal trainers or instructors provide services to an organisation through an intermediary company, such as Joe Bloggs PT Services Ltd, or are supplied via an employment agency/business. The question to ask is ”if it wasn’t for that company in the middle, would the individual be regarded as an employee/worker for tax and NIC purposes?”

Health club and leisure centre operators engaging ‘off-payroll’ PTs and instructors via an intermediary will be responsible for determining their employment status and paying Income Tax and NICs for those deemed employees.

Aaron McCulloch is MD of Your Personal Training (YPT), which supports PTs and gym operators to deliver personal training services. He says: “Many PTs work in clubs as ‘off-payroll’ gym or class instructors via their own limited company in lieu of paying floor rent to operate their business; it’s been standard practice in our sector for many years.

“They’re often required to carry out inductions, group exercise classes or even cleaning, and would typically have to ask for time off and work their PT business around a shift rota set by the club.

“If a PT or instructor is obliged to deliver a set number of regular working hours and are told when, where and how they must do this, it’s likely HMRC would deem them an employee.”

Law firm, Irwin Mitchell, has been supporting companies dealing with IR35 across a number of sectors and senior associate, Padma Tadi, says: “The financial impact can be significant; amounting to thousands of pounds in additional income tax and NICs for every contractor HMRC would deem to be an employee.

“Operators will be responsible for deducting and passing on these charges, as well managing the increased costs and responsibilities attached to employment rights to which the individual may be entitled.

“The legislation applies to all invoices and payments made after 6 April 2021,” she says, “even if the work is carried out before that date and when passed on to PTs or instructors, this could reduce their net income by up to 25 per cent.”

The good news is these changes only apply to freelancers providing services via an intermediary company and they won’t apply to small organisations which don’t meet at least two of the following criteria:

● Annual turnover of more than £10.2 million

● Balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million

● More than 50 (F/T equivalent) employees

However, Tadi advises: “Beware when looking at size. If you’re part of a corporate group, the overall group turnover must be considered, or you may still fall within the scope.”

“Preparation is key, because assessing each team member and introducing and actioning appropriate policies and procedures can be extremely time consuming,” warns McCulloch.

"The financial impact can be significant, amounting to thousands of pounds in additional income tax and NICs for every contractor HMRC would deem to be an employee" – Padma Tadi, Irwin Mitchell

"If a PT or instructor is obliged to deliver a set number of regular working hours and are told when, where and how they must do this, it’s likely HMRC would deem them an employee" – Aaron McCulloch, Your Personal Training

8 steps to compliance
Aaron McCulloch, Your Personal Training

1. Establish whether you fall within the definition of ‘small’. If so, you won’t ever need to make changes, provided you remain small.

2. Identify freelancers who operate via an intermediary and provide a status determination for each. Consider how often they work for you, whether they provide their own kit and if they work for other gyms.

3. Decide who in the team will be responsible for determining the status of freelancers. If they need training to understand how to make a proper assessment, HMRC has an online tool (known as CEST) to assist, but it has been subject to criticism for giving some inaccurate outcomes, so we advise also seeking professional advice.

4. Freelance PTs and instructors may challenge the status you allocate. Decide how you’ll deal with those appeals and how you’ll comply with the time limits (you have 45 days to respond to any appeal with your findings).

5. Will tax and NICs which are due be an additional cost for you, or can you renegotiate so this is factored into the PTs’ rates?

6. Review how the payment processes will work. The PTs’ invoices will need to be split between fee and VAT, with PAYE and NIC calculated on the fee and with a net payment made to the PTs and PAYE/NIC to HMRC.

7. Establish whether you need to set up a separate PAYE scheme to handle payments – they must be processed under the real-time information (RTI) arrangements.

8. Advise instructors you’re reviewing your processes. You may want to ask them to become employees if they are critical to your operation.

Each team member could need to be assessed / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund
Each team member could need to be assessed / photo: shutterstock/Jacob Lund
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/116509_817885.jpg
New tax law, IR35, is changing the way employers treat tax and national insurance payments for freelance staff such as PTs
Latest News
World Gym International has launched a strength-only gym concept, which it says will cater for ...
Latest News
A new open water swimming venue will has been launched in the heart of Canary ...
Latest News
Peter Roberts, former CEO and founder of Pure Gym, has invested in Another Round, a ...
Latest News
Fitness markets around the globe are demonstrating "reassuring signs of recovery" following the pandemic disruptions ...
Latest News
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take ...
Latest News
Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
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Operating at the extreme edge of performance, a race team requires every element and working part to function at its very best – and that includes its people.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EGYM: A digital ecosystem that works for everyone
EGYM has been pioneering the connected gym floor for more than a decade, partnering with operators and other third-party integrations, to create a free-flowing training environment that places the member at the very centre of the experience.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Video Gallery
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Sport Alliance GmbH
Company profiles
Company profile: 1Life
1Life is an innovative lifestyle and management solutions company that engages with tens of thousands ...
Company profiles
Company profile: GANTNER
GANTNER optimizes and simplifies the organisation of fitness clubs....
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: Precor partners with Oracle Red Bull Racing to power new high-performance fitness and wellbeing facility
Operating at the extreme edge of performance, a race team requires every element and working part to function at its very best – and that includes its people.
Directory
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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