HMRC has won an IR35 tribunal case at the High Court against three BBC presenters who will now have to pay back tens of thousands in taxes. The High Court ruled that they had effectively been forced into contracting through personal service companies by the BBC, arguing that there was an imbalance of bargaining power.

The judges said: The BBC were in a unique position and used it to force the presenters into contracting through personal service companies and to accept reductions in pay. The presenters argued that they were self-employed but the court ruled that because they were told how, where and when to work, that the assumed relationships were ones of employment.

HMRC published draft legislation in July that, from April next year, places the onus on private sector firms to check whether contractors need to pay tax and national insurance contributions, shifting responsibility from the contractor to the employer using their services. But commentators have emphasised how vital it is that HMRC now provides the greater clarity which is still needed to avoid others having to go through this ordeal.

About the Author: Glen Callow

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