Loose Women woman's IR35 win deals another high-profile blow to UK taxman's grip on rules

Freelance techies take note

Claims that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs does not understand its own rules are all the louder now the UK taxman has lost another IR35 case – this time to TV and radio broadcaster Kaye Adams.

Adams, once a panellist on ITV's Loose Women, appealed against a challenge to her self-employed status while presenting BBC Radio Scotland's The Kaye Adams Programme during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 tax years. The First-Tier Tribunal tax chamber was satisfied that Adams' plentiful work outside the BBC indicated that she was calling the shots for her career, not an employer.

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IR35 legislation for off-payroll working shifts responsibility for determining tax status from the contractor to the business that hired them, and many IT workers fall under it. The rules were changed in 2017 to mean contractors could no longer self-certify for their public sector work, and those reforms are due to be rolled into the private sector next year.

Andy Chamberlain, deputy director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), said: "Kaye Adams's victory is yet another example of HMRC's complete failure to understand its own labyrinthine self-employed tax laws.

"This is the fifth of six IR35 cases HMRC has lost since it made its disastrous changes to IR35 in the public sector in 2017.

"This should be a loud warning bell to the government not to extend the hugely damaging changes to IR35 to the private sector next April. When HMRC clearly cannot understand these tax laws, how can they possibly expect businesses across the UK to?"

Seb Maley, CEO of tax insurance provider Qdos Contractor, thundered: "How many more genuinely self-employed freelancers and contractors must needlessly endure an IR35 case before an independent review into HMRC is launched?"

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"With further reform on the horizon, this case emphasises the importance of being confident in IR35 status, irrespective of whether you're a contractor, an agency or end-client."

HMRC told The Register: "We are disappointed that the First Tier Tribunal has decided that the intermediary rules (also known as IR35) did not apply in this case.

"We will carefully consider the outcome of the tribunal before deciding whether to appeal."

Earlier this month pint-sized Scottish TV presenter Lorraine Kelly also won her IR35 appeal, and MPs expressed concerns about the effectiveness of HMRC's status-testing tool. ®

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