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IR35 appeal date set

PCG to return to High Court on 4 December

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The Professional Contractors Group (PCG) will return to the High Court on 4-6 December to appeal against an April judgment that the government's controversial IR35 tax legislation is not illegal.

The group - which represents 14,000 independent contractors, mostly in IT - argues that the measure is illegal under European law since it counts as illegal state aid and a barrier to free movement.

High Court judge Mr Justice Burton ruled in April this year that IR35 was not against the law.

He did, however, find in the PCG's favour on all findings of fact and criticised the Inland Revenue over the legislation. The PCG refused to say after the judgement whether it would appeal, but after gathering the support of its members for a fighting fund, announced in August that it would. Today, the date was set.

The PCG's Chairman, Jane Akshar, said: "The High Court found in PCG's favour on so many factual issues that we felt it was only a small step to prove that not only is this law unfair and uncompetitive - it is also illegal."

The PCG will be using the same lawyer as last time - Mr Gerald Barling QC, an expert on such matters. And the war cabinet will again congregate at the Cheshire Cheese pub, a short walk from the High Court.

IR35 seeks to treat contractors on short-term contracts as employees of the company rather than independent workers. This has immediate tax implications and strongly affects the IT consultant market which is organised typically on a project-based basis.

The PCG was set up to support the contractors' cause and argues that the law demonstrates the government's lack of understanding of the modern work market. ®

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