HMRC suffers defeat in an IR35 case

The presenter of television show Loose Women, Kaye Adams, has become the latest TV personality to win a case against HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over her employment status.

The Government tax authority had argued that Ms Adams was, in fact, an employee of the BBC instead of a freelancer, due to the fact she presents BBC Radio Scotland’s daily morning show. They claimed that because of this IR35 law should apply.

IR35 law is designed to crack down on tax avoidance by so-called disguised employees who supply their services to clients via a limited company but would otherwise be considered employees.

Earlier this week, the first-tier Tribunal ruled in favour of Ms Adams’ company, Atholl House Productions. They upheld the appeal against a PAYE tax bill of about £81,000 and a further £43,000 in national insurance contributions for the presenter’s work with the BBC between March 2015 and March 2017.

Judge Tony Beare said that Ms Adams’ 20-year career as a freelancer and roles outside the BBC showed the broadcaster was in business on her own account.

He said: “Ms Adams was not entitled under each actual agreement to any holiday or sick pay, maternity leave or pension entitlement. These are also features which are inconsistent with a relationship of employer and employee.”

HMRC’s defeat is the latest setback for the tax authority following defeat in another high profile IR35 case against Lorraine Kelly.

It also highlighted the difficulties businesses are likely to face from April 2020 when they will be required to determine the IR35 status of contractors who use limited companies.

HMRC said it was disappointed the tribunal had decided the IR35 rules did not apply in Ms Adams’ case and it would carefully consider the outcome before deciding whether to appeal.