The Tribunal also found that the journalists, Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Willcox, were ‘forced’ into working as 'self-employed' by the Corporation.
The three journalists were pursued by HMRC for £920,000 as part of a crackdown on the use of personal service companies.
The judges found that the 'imbalance of bargaining power' at the BBC was a significant factor in the case, stating that '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 BBC has said that 'it wants to help presenters resolve any historic tax issues they face because of the way their employment status is now being assessed'.
In a split Tribunal decision, the court ruled that 'the assumed relationships were ones of employment' as the BBC told the presenters how, where and when to work.
The outcome will come as a blow for more than 100 other presenters in a similar situation who had seen this as a test case.
Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, said: “It’s of real concern that at present, these individuals look like they will be made to pay vast sums to HMRC, despite the judges finding they were ‘forced’ into working as self-employed by the BBC. The onus should be on the engager to settle, not the presenters, who it's very difficult to label as guilty.
“With around 100 other BBC presenters in the same boat, we could see similar verdicts in time. However, each case needs to be examined on its own merit. And if it’s decided The BBC left someone with no choice but to work outside IR35, then these individuals must be helped financially.
“Bear in mind that the BBC example is a rare one and isn’t reflective of a typical contractor engagement. Therefore, albeit worrying, genuinely self-employed contractors who have set or had their status set with care, do not need to panic.
“With further IR35 reform approaching, companies engaging contractors should take note. No firm should force individuals into a working arrangement purely for its own benefit. IR35 status must be assessed fairly. In doing so, situations like this will be avoided.”
Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including the controversial IR35 reforms see Shout99's News on IR35 section.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2019