Professional Contractors Group

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IPSE - formerly the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) - is a British not for profit organisation. It was established in 1999 as The Professional Contractors Group, a protest group against the IR35 tax statute.[1] Later, it expanded its responsibilities to cover wider interests of freelance consultants and contractors as full representative body for freelancing in the UK, in the form of a company limited by guarantee. It is a not-for-profit organisation owned and run by its members. In 2014 it changed its name to IPSE, and its constituency to the entirety of Britain's 4.3 million freelance and self-employed workers.

It represents members in numerous sectors, including IT, engineering, interim management, media, project management, healthcare, oil and gas extraction and marketing.[citation needed] The PCG rebranded themselves as IPSE, The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed in September 2014. [2]

Issues on which IPSE (formerly PCG) has campaigned[edit]

  • IR35: PCG challenged this legislation with a Judicial Review[3] and continues to lobby for its replacement.[4] In November 2010 Chris Bryce, the current Chairman of PCG, took up a seat on the consultative committee of the small business taxation group of the Office of Tax Simplification.
  • S660A: PCG took the first test case (Arctic Systems) on this issue - the admissibility of husband-and-wife businesses for tax purposes - through the courts and won.[5] It continues to lobby government against changes aimed at restoring HMRC’s interpretation of the statute.[6]
  • Managed Service Company legislation: PCG campaigned to ensure that the legislation was not unfairly applied to companies outside the intended target.[7]
  • IR591: In his Pre-Budget Report of 2003, Gordon Brown announced plans for a new tax measure aimed at freelance contractors, but did not publish any details for consultation. PCG lobbied the government extensively and launched a public campaign: the resulting measure, a 19% corporation tax rate for firms with profits of less than £50,000 and the abolition of the zero starting rate introduced a couple of years previously, was the "least worst" of all possible outcomes.
  • Agency Regulations: in 2002 the government introduced a set of regulations covering all workers who acquire work via recruitment agencies. PCG negotiated successfully to secure an opt-out from the regulations for contractors.
  • Work permits: from 2000, the IT contracting market became depressed, yet the government still listed IT as an area in which skills shortage existed and therefore gave prioritised entry to the UK for IT workers from overseas. Lobbying by PCG led to IT being removed from the skills shortage list in 2002.
  • Offshoring: PCG has undertaken the first empirical study of the effects of offshoring (whereby a company’s IT services, for instance, are performed by a service provider in another country), which suggests that the cost benefits promised on paper often fail to materialise in practice. PCG is campaigning on this issue because the UK’s IT bodies do not see it as a problem, although it is increasingly also becoming an issue in other sectors represented by PCG.
  • Abuse of the intra-company transfer rules by major corporations in the UK. The PCG alleges that some companies are misusing the immigration rules that allow company employees to enter the UK. A campaign website ( ([8]) has been set up to explain the allegations in detail.
  • Encouraging the use of Freelance workers within industry. PCG run a campaign to promote the use of freeleance workers called Britain's Brain Gain ([9]).

Member services[edit]

IPSE offers its members a range of services as part of its membership package. These include:

  • Tax and legal helplines
  • Insurance cover against disputes with the Revenue
  • Access to members-only discussion forums
  • Standard template contracts
  • Extensive guidance documents on IR35, S660A, agency regulations and how to go about setting up as a freelance contractor

In addition, IPSE runs a number of schemes for the benefit of its members, including an Approved Contract Scheme whereby agencies who offer contacts that are sound both commercially and from a tax perspective are marked as PCG approved.

Structure of IPSE[edit]

IPSE members vote annually to elect a Consultative Council (CC) of thirty members, of whom 15 are re-elected each year. Annually the CC then elects a non-executive Chairman and a non-executive Board of Directors [[10]] from among the CC. IPSE’s staff are accountable to this Board.


  1. ^ "PCG Background"
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ IR35 Tax Challenge Fails, BBC News
  4. ^ Crucial IR35 appeal hits the High Court for the second time Accountancy Age
  5. ^ Arctic Systems win at Lords Bytestart
  6. ^ Family Business Tax Campaign
  7. ^, "PCG Submits formal response to managed service company proposals"
  8. ^ ICT abuse campaign website
  9. ^ Britain's Brain Gain
  10. ^ IPSE's Board of Directors

External links[edit]