HMRC IR35 VIctory

Overturning of high profile First-Tier Tribunal

ContractorCalculator has learned that HMRC has secured a decisive IR35 victory at the Upper Tribunal (UT), overturning its high profile First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) defeat to radio presenter and comedy writer Paul Hawksbee:

Hawksbee had successfully challenged his deemed status and a tax bill of roughly £140,000 following a FTT decision made in June 2019, after HMRC had challenged an engagement between his limited company Kickabout Productions Limited (KPL) and radio station Talksport between 2012 and 2015.

However, many factors in what was originally a borderline case were interpreted differently by the UT, with Judge Mr Justice Zacaroli concluding: ‘Taking all of the relevant factors into account, we consider that viewed as a whole they are not inconsistent with the hypothetical contracts being contracts of employment.’

Commenting, Dave Chaplin, CEO of contracting authority ContractorCalculator noted that the possible repercussions for traditional contractors are far less clear and said:

“This is a surprising and unexpected ruling. Some careful analysis will be required before drawing any firm conclusions on how it will impact IR35 and Off-Payroll for more traditional based contractors.

“The case law on presenter cases is still settling down through the courts and the decisions being made can appear to contradict each other. All of the cases have their own unique nuances, and a common theme is badly drafted contracts that don’t reflect the reality of the situation.”

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