How can I tell if the individual is employed, self-employed or an intermediary worker?

To determine this, you must use HMRC’s Employment Status Service Assessment (ESS) tool. This is an online facility designed to establish the employment status of an individual or group of workers.

The assessment will ask questions about the work to be undertaken, responsibility and use of equipment to determine if the individual should be paid on invoice or through the payroll system with NI and tax deductions.

When you’ve answered all the questions, the ESS tool will provide an indication of the worker’s employment status.

You can rely on the ESS outcome as evidence of a worker’s status for tax/NICs/VAT purposes if both of the following apply:

  1. Your answers to the ESS questions accurately reflect the terms and conditions under which the worker provides their services.
  2. The ESS has been completed by the engager or their authorised representative (if a worker completes the ESS tool the result is only indicative and cannot be used for  HMRC audit purposes).