I have been offered a six month contract, as a PSC (personal services company). The recruiter has asked for my NI number, to which I responded "Do one". However, they insisted that they have a legal obligation as "an intermediary" to collect this information for our dear Inland Rev. This page was sent to be by way of justification: What this means for an intermediary - GOV.UK

To quote from the document:

You must send a report to HMRC if at any time in a reporting period the following conditions all apply. You:

  • are an agency or intermediary that supplies the services of individuals to a client

I run a Personal Services Company (PSC). This means I am not an individual.

You don’t have to include payment details where they have already been included as part of a payroll submission by any other organisation.

As the sole employee of my company, I do my own payroll

However, further down there is this:

One-person limited companies, or personal service companies (PSC), that only supply a client with one worker don’t have to send reports to HMRC.

If the worker is supplied through an intermediary they will be included in the report the intermediary that has the contract with the end client sends to HMRC.

The recruiter suggested that this has become a requirement in the past 24 months, but it's the first time (in 15 years of contracting) that I have been asked to provide my personal NI number.

  1. Does this mean we are required to submit NI number when taking a contract?
  2. If not what IR35 implications does this have if any?

Thank you in advance.


It's all true, I'm afraid. The Intermediaries Legislation (IR35) is complex series of statutory instruments (laws) and enabling acts (laws without parliamentary scrutiny).

The part your agency is referring to is (I think) from 2012 and came as a surprise to me as well in 2017 when I moved to a new contract. They (the agency) have a legal obligation to HMRC to report the NI numbers of any employees of companies (they do business with) below a certain size. The "you" in the quoted text refers to the agency, not you personally.

You can tell them to "do one", and not take the contract, but every other agency on every other contract will tell you the same thing. The only way to avoid this is not to work through an intermediary (agency).

Ni - are UK "National Insurance" numbers against which tax is paid. They are also used to process benefits and pensions.

HMRC - Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs; the taxman.

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