IR-35 - do you advertise you are exempt or not?


Hi everyone

I’m busy updating my website and was wondering whether or not I should add a bit about being IR-35 exempt.

There is a lot of media around this at the moment, especially with the changes coming in next April, and was wondering if I should mention that I’m IR-35 exempt in case potential clients are put off by that fact…

Do any of you mention on your website that you are IR-35 exempt? I’d also like to know if anyone knows if you can (legally or otherwise) advertise that or not???

Thanks in advance for your comments/help!



I’m in two minds about this…

I think generally awareness of these laws is really low among our usual clients. It would be a case of flagging something they really aren’t aware of and creating a worry for them. I also think that if you are working properly as a VA, you would be exempt from these laws anyway (working off site, for multiple clients, having the right of substitution, saying yes/no to jobs, using own equipment etc).

Even in the horrible scenario that HMRC goes totally bananas and decides that “YES ALL VAs SHOULD BE EMPLOYEES!” as a sole trader, the Client would be fined, not the VA. Whereas if you were a limited company, the Client would be exempt and the Limited Company would pay all back fees/any fines etc. (So maybe the Client should be worried if you are a sole trader???)

HMRC could easily investigate larger companies and their payments to subcontractors and you might be investigated as part of that if they’ve been slightly naughty… Which is why you really need to be aware of what the differences are between being an employee and being a self-employed VA, especially if you are a limited company. It’s as much to protect yourself as to protect the client.

I might word it as “How VAs differ from employees”? Which turns it into a positive thing?


Hi Caroline

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter. I knew there would be someone on here that could help!

I agree that VA’s need to know the difference between an employee and being self-employed. I also feel that we should ensure our contracts should clearly state our right of substitution and autonomy regarding where and when I work. I think that mine could be better, so I’m busy looking at re-wording them as well, just to be on the safe side.

I might try to write an article instead about “How VAs differ from employees”… Do you mind if I use that title?

Thanks again


Absolutely fine!
Glad the brain picking was worth it (sometimes it comes up totally blank!!)


Hi Stephanie

Just found your post and wondered if you every wrote that article as I would be interested in reading it?



Are you guys joining me, Noel and Annabel for the IR35 chat? I think this will clear up lots of queries!

11 Oct @ lunchtime! Sign up here:



I’ve just registered…this one passed me by the first time so thanks for highlighting it again!


I have been thinking about IR-35 lately and really pleased to see it raised here. Thank you!


I advertised it on mine, just in case… x