Consultation on the use of Intermediary-Type Structures and Self-employment Arrangements

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The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. and the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D. launch a consultation on the use of Intermediary-Type Structures and Self-employment Arrangements

The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. and the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D. today (28th January 2016) initiated a consultation process on the use of intermediary-type employment structures and self-employment arrangements, and their impact on tax and PRSI.

Both Ministers emphasised that the arrangements which are the subject of this consultation should be distinguished from the fairly common situation in which a genuinely self-employed individual either operates as a sole trader, through a partnership or incorporates his or her business.  They made it clear that this consultation does not affect those situations.


Click here to download the consultation document.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Thursday 31st March 2016.


The use of intermediary-type structures is becoming more prevalent as a means of providing labour.  At its simplest, an individual worker who might otherwise be engaged as an employee by the person who uses his or her services, provides the services through an intermediary in the form of a “personal services company” or a “managed service company”.

One of the consequences of these types of arrangements from a tax and PRSI perspective is that, rather than the end-user applying the PAYE system in respect of the worker, that function becomes the responsibility of the worker, through the intermediary structure.

In addition to these formal intermediary-type structures, there are increasing instances of workers being classified as self-employed even though they might not possess the characteristics of entrepreneurship and risk-taking often perceived as features of self-employment. 

The objective of this consultation process is to invite submissions from interested parties on possible measures to address the loss to the Exchequer in tax and PRSI that may arise under arrangements:

(i) where an individual, who would otherwise be an employee, establishes a company to provide his or her services, and

(ii) where an individual, who is dependent on, and under the control of, a single employer in the same manner as an employee, is classified as a self-employed individual. 

Launching the consultation process the Tánaiste said, “A welcome aspect of recent economic growth has been the number of small businesses being established.   Having people who are genuinely self-employed is good for the economy.  They are entrepreneurs, risk takers and ultimately people who create employment for other people.  Most of them enjoy the independence that self-employment brings.  However, of some concern to me and my Department is the increasing evidence of self-employment arrangements which undermine workers’ benefit entitlements and increase the burden on compliant taxpayers. In particular, it is absolutely essential that employment arrangements which undermine workers’ rights are not tolerated or allowed take hold in our economy. Therefore I welcome this joint consultation which is a good opportunity to ensure fairness for workers and legitimate businesses alike.”

Minister Noonan said, “As a Government which is continuing to deliver substantial job creation, we are committed to supporting people in work and returning to work.  Not only do certain self-employment arrangements cost workers and Government through lost insurance contributions, they also undermine compliant businesses.”

Submissions may be emailed to or posted to “Consultation on intermediary-type structures”, Department of Finance, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin, D02 R583 and should be received by 5:30 p.m. Thursday 31st March 2016.