HMRC Lose yet another IR35 case

A Talksport presenter has won his IR35 appeal against HMRC. Paul Hawksbee director of Kickabout Productions Ltd, would have had to pay an estimated tax bill of £143,000.

Mr Hawksbee won his appeal despite having been a co-presenter of ‘The Hawksbee and Jacobs Show’ on Talksport since 2000, a factor which HMRC had placed considerable emphasis on.

HMRC contested that Hawksbee’s time as co-presenter was an indicator of employment in that it suggested a significant degree of stability, while also arguing that his continued on-air presence made him ‘part and parcel’ of the Talksport organisation. However although he was contracted to present at least 222 shows per year, at £575 per programme plus expenses, he was only paid for the shows he presented.

Rather than reject HMRC outright, which has happened in five of the last six IR35 cases, the tribunal could not agree, prompting the judge Thomas Scott,to use his casting vote.  The judge conlucded that “Looking at the picture as a whole, we conclude that the relationship in this case was not one of employment but rather was a contract for services.”

As HMRC lose yet aother case this again raises questions over HMRC’s CEST tool and its understanding of IR35 after only winning one of the last 14 cases to go to trial.