HMRC has won an appeal against a former BBC presenter regarding her contractual arrangements and employment status in the five years she was engaged by the BBC through her personal service company. This is the first victory for HMRC regarding IR35 in nine years and is a boost for them in their ongoing battle in this regard.
The presenter was engaged with the BBC through her company on a seven year contract. The contract stated that she was to provide her services on up to 225 days per year and that the BBC ultimately had the right to dictate what services the company would provide. She was also restricted from providing her services to other organisations in the UK without approval from the BBC and her company was prohibited from providing a substitute presenter.
Given the above facts it was determined that the presenter herself was under a “hypothetical contract” with the BBC and that this would have been a contract of service, rather than a contract for services. Accordingly the tribunal concluded that she should be treated as an employee for tax purposes.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “Employment status is never a matter of choice; it is always dictated by the facts and when the wrong tax is being paid we put things right.”
Given the significance of this case, contractors will perhaps need to be even more vigilant in future to make sure that they do no find themselves falling foul of the IR35 law.
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