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TV presenter loses £400,000 IR35 appeal
by Susie Hughes at 11:40 29/10/19 (News on IR35)
Former BBC presenter, Christa Ackroyd, has lost her IR35 appeal, and now faces tax and NI liabilities of £400,000.
The Upper Tribunal tax and chancery chamber dismissed Ms Ackroyd’s appeal, who was looking to overturn a decision in February 2018 of a First Tier tribunal, which ruled against her and stated she had to pay nearly £420,000 in outstanding tax.

Ms Ackroyd was engaged by the BBC through her own company, Christa Ackroyd Media Ltd (CAM), to present BBC 1's Look North, until 2013.

HMRC claimed that her status was that of an employee, while she claimed that she as self-employed contractor.

In the original ruling, the Judge claimed that: '...the most significant factors in the present case include the fact that the BBC could control what work Ms Ackroyd did pursuant to the hypothetical contract. It was a seven-year contract for what was effectively a full-time job.

“Standing back and making an overall qualitative assessment of the circumstances we consider that Ms Ackroyd was an employee under the hypothetical contract.”

In the latest ruling, Mr Justice Mann and Judge Thomas Scott agreed with the tribunal and dismissed the appeal - leaving Ms Ackroyd to face a tax bill of more than £400,000.

The BBC said: "The BBC was not party to this case but we're reviewing the details of the judgment."

HMRC said: "Employment status is never a matter of choice; it is always dictated by the facts and when the wrong tax is being paid we put things right."

Ms Ackroyd is one of several high profile television presenters who have provided their services through their own limited companies and now face HMRC investigations.

(For background details about the case, see: BBC freelancer's £400,000 tax bill following IR35 investigation - Shout99, Mar 2018

Qdos - 'forced'
Tax investigation insurers Qdos pointed out that this is not a typical case and should not necessarily be considered a HMRC victory.

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Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, said: “Given Ms Ackroyd was reportedly forced to work as a contractor by The BBC, this shouldn’t necessarily be considered a win for HMRC.

“It’s not a typical IR35 case either, given contractors aren’t usually pushed into working arrangements purely for the benefit of the client, despite the emerging trend in the banking sector.

“That said, with IR35 reform approaching, Ms Ackroyd’s case does highlight the dangers of a business handing contractors ultimatums. Very often, this approach will result in non-compliance or a contractor walkout.

“Ms Ackroyd’s case also reflects the complexities of the IR35 legislation and that making an IR35 decision without the help of a specialist is a risk, particularly when taking into account the cost of getting things wrong.

“Even though contractors will often lose the right to set their own IR35 status when changes arrive next year, that’s not to say they shouldn’t carry out their own due diligence to ensure they are paying the right amount of tax.”

Details of the appeal are here - in pdf.

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

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