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Another defeat for HMRC as Loose Women presenter wins IR35 appeal

Another defeat for HMRC as Loose Women presenter wins IR35 appeal

Presenter Kaye Adams has won her appeal against a £124k tax bill she received from HMRC. Adams, who presents a number of radio and TV shows, including the popular daytime talk show Loose Women, successfully defended her self-employed status with BBC Radio Scotland as presenter of The Kay Adams Programme.

Her victory follows just weeks after presenter Lorraine Kelly’s successful appeal of a £1.2m tax bill for her engagements with ITV. As with Kelly’s case, control was the determining factor in the judge’s ruling. It was established that although the BBC had editorial control over what it chose to broadcast, Adams called the shots when it came to content and how the show was put together.

In his evidence, a BBC witness confirmed:  ‘Kaye would draft the scripts for the programme, decide which callers to take, what questions to ask, and the direction that the show would follow. All of these things were up to Adams’ discretion while the show was being aired.”

Once again, HMRC has wrongly pursued a person who it considers to be a disguised employee. With the reforms scheduled to be introduced to the private sector in April 2020, the case yet again demonstrates that HMRC’s status tests fail to consider each individual case. Instead it holds people accountable on an inadequate ‘broad stroke’ understanding of their circumstances.

Independent bodies representing the contracting sector have condemned HMRC for irresponsibly subjecting these people to years of uncertainly and stress. There is growing concern that HMRC won’t be held accountable for their actions, and that the flawed reforms will be introduced to the private sector next year without addressing the serious problems that have been repeatedly identified.

These recent high profile cases emphasise the importance of contractors who have their own limited company being confident about their IR35 status and taking steps to safeguard themselves against getting caught out. Although it will be the responsibility of the end client or the public sector organisation to assess the IR35 status of the contractors they hire, it’s likely they will need the help and cooperation of contractors who have performed this task for years. Read our comprehensive guide to get an overview of the legislation.

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