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The Professional Contractors Group has been given the date of its legal battle at the High Court regarding the IR35 tax legislation. From Tuesday to Thursday next week (13 to 15 March), the PCG will make its case as to why the law, introduced in the 1999 budget, should be overturned.

The group won the right to take the case to the High Court in October over its claims that the law contravenes European legislation concerning free and fair trading and that it goes against the new Human Rights Act (confiscation of property).

The government's defence is basically that contractors and the like cannot be considered to be businesses.

IR35, if you don't know, basically treats contractors' turnover as salary, with the tax and national insurance implications that involves. Hence many people in engineering and the IT industry cannot make or retain a profit or offset equipment, training etc against tax. The government sees such people as exploiting a loophole, the contractors sees themselves as a prime example of free trade principles. ®

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