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UK – Broadcaster wins IR35 case and avoids £140,000 tax bill

11 July 2019

A radio broadcaster and comedy writer defeated the HMRC in an IR35 tribunal and successfully challenged a deemed tax bill of approximately  £140,000.

The HMRC argued that Paul Hawksbee, a radio presenter for Talksport, was an employee which meant he would be liable for income tax and National Insurance contributions, however, Hawksbee has successfully appealed the case.

Hawksbee had established KPL, a personal service company, and had provided Hawksbee’s services as a radio broadcaster to Talksport from 2012 to 2015.

The judge stated that Talksport controlled the where and when of Hawksbee’s employment, but added ‘that is of relatively little significance compared to control of the how and what.’

“In relation to how Mr Hawksbee performed his services, Talksport had no effective control of a live broadcast, but we place little weight on this. In advance of each broadcast, editorial and artistic control of the content and format lay almost entirely with Mr Hawksbee,” the judgement read.

Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, commented, “While the result is positive news for Mr Hawksbee, it’s hugely disconcerting that as the creators and enforcers of IR35, HMRC still cannot seem to grasp the legislation it insists on reforming. HMRC has every right to investigate a contractor’s tax status, but it must have a compelling case against them. By challenging individuals who are genuinely self-employed, HMRC places these people under unnecessary financial and emotional pressure.”

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