Farmers should prepare themselves for a visit from a tax inspector, as HM Revenue & Customs cracks down on irregularities in workers’ status, warns Tenon Rural Services national director Mike Butler.

“Inspectors are travelling the country in pursuit of revenue collection and are showing a strong emphasis towards Pay As You Earn visits, checking the status of all farm workers,” Mr Butler said.

He urged farmers and farm workers to be realistic about what constitutes self-employment.

“Some cases will be clear-cut and farmers need to be realistic and bring self-employed individuals on to the books.

There are many cases where self-employed status should be defended, including situations such as relief milkers and herdsmen.”

There were three simple criteria that defined self-employment, Mr Butler said.

The worker should take financial risk in their own right and have the capacity to incur a loss; they must be able to send a replacement at their own cost if necessary and have control over how the work is carried out; and they should get a fee for work, not a wage.

sam.fortescue@rbi.co.uk