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Another week, another IR35 case lost by HMRC

freelancesupermarket.com newsroom

RSS 11 November 2019
HMRC have lost another IR35 case against a TV presenter. In this instance, it was the case of Helen Fospero, who escaped an £80,00 tax bill when HMRC lost an appeal tribunal which was debating whether or not she was self-employed, or in fact, was legally employed by ITV.

It's getting a bit repetitive, isn't it? But the news is that HMRC have lost another IR35 case against a TV presenter. In this instance, it was the case of Helen Fospero, who escaped an £80,00 tax bill when HMRC lost an appeal tribunal which was debating whether or not she was self-employed, or in fact, was legally employed by ITV.

Ms Fospero had a limited company, Canal Street Productions Ltd, and had been supplied with work during 2012/13 as a guest presenter on early morning ITV shows Daybreak and Lorraine.

In the appeal, the judge ruled that, despite these slots being somewhat regular in nature, that they constituted short term employments with no guarantee of further work and that ITV had no obligation to her to continue to offer this work.

While the tribunal agreed with HMRCs assertion that there was a commitment by ITV to offer a minimum amount of work to Ms Fospero, it was, the tribunal decided, on an assignment by assignment basis and all of a very short-term nature. As such, HMRCs claim for her to be treated as an employee, and pay the £80,000 that her change in status would require, was dismissed by the judge, who ruled in Ms Fospero's favour.

HMRC has said it is considering whether or not to lodge an appeal.

Also, this month, HMRC lost another IR35 case against an IT consultant who it was trying to claim owed them a huge £243,000 in tax. In that instance, it argued that because the contractor had previously been employed by one of his clients, it was simply a continuation of his employment in a different structure. In this case, the court ruled that the terms and conditions of his employment were significantly different from those he had enjoyed as an employee and ruled in his favour.

We are still wondering whether or not HMRC pursuing the IR35 ruling is even worth the fees that they must be being charged in legal costs and court time for them to keep pursuing these cases. And let's not forget, if it's costing HMRC, it's costing you and I, the regular man and woman on the street when those fees are passed on to us to cover in the form of extra taxes. Sure, they win some, but they appear to lose just as many, and it undoubtedly causes many freelancers to question if it's even worth the time and the potential future grief to pursue a freelance career when there is a lack of a clearly defined line that ensures everybody knows exactly where they stand in regards to this. And all the time the big businesses seem to be just tickety-boo when it comes to avoiding paying tax without pursuit. While we continue to call for clearer legislation for freelancers, we'll raise a shy fist to the underdogs, the little ones like you and I, who stand up to the big dogs and come out on top.

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