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The Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) digital service was first released in March 2017. It helps customers apply the off-payroll working rules correctly.
Following feedback from customers and stakeholders, HMRC released an enhanced version of the service on 25 November 2019. HMRC worked with over 300 stakeholders to identify and test the enhancements to ensure the service meets customer needs. These enhancements include making the questions and the results clearer, increasing the number of questions to provide a more thorough assessment and building in features to reduce user errors.
Improvements have also been made to language and presentation, and HMRC have added guidance to ensure questions are clearly understood. CEST is accurate. It has been tested rigorously against known case law and settled cases. HMRC stand by its results if it is used in accordance with HMRC guidance and the facts put into CEST are correct.
CEST currently provides an employment status determination for tax purposes in around 85% of uses, all bar the most complex or finely balanced cases. For these more complex cases, HMRC provide detailed guidance and dedicated support.