Let’s address the elephant in the room… your subcontractors work consistently for you and some of them have been with you for years and should probably be on the books.
Problem is, they are good workers, and you have enough work on so it just continues in that way, possibly because you think there is little you can do about it and so will just have to risk it and take it on the chin if it ever gets flagged up.
Taking it on the chin however does not really do justice to the pain such a challenge will cause. It will probably feel more like HMRC taking a swing at your chin with a sword!
The good news is that the pen is mightier than the sword and we are talented wordsmiths who can work wonders with a bit of parchment, some ink, and a quill (or a keyboard).
The reason the pen is so mighty in this type of challenge is because in an employment status challenge, you must establish what terms the subcontractors work under. If the specific terms of how they provide services is documented in an easy-to-understand contract, it is all there in black and white and it becomes incredibly more difficult for HMRC to get their foot in the door. They would effectively have to prove that the whole contract is a sham agreement which will not happen if the contract is drafted correctly.
A robust contract will be an accurate reflection of the working relationship, be up to date and be in line with current case law principles.
When we draft contracts for our clients to use, we consider how they operate and tailor the contract accordingly. If having considered this information we believe it is not possible for the subcontractors to be self-employed, we will also discuss this with the client, so they at least know where they stand.
Kick the elephant out of the room and get confident over the employment status of your subcontractors.