BBC ‘freelance’ presenters taxed as employees

by | Dec 27, 2019

The High Court recently decided that a trio of BBC presenters were deemed employees of the BBC and must pay a hefty tax bill. The BBC must also pay some £200,000 in employer’s national insurance contributions. David Eaves, Tim Wilcox and Joanna Gosling had unsuccessfully challenged HMRC’s view that they fell ‘within IR35’.

The presenters contracted with the BBC through their personal service companies. Although the High Court accepted that they had no choice in this arrangement, it decided that the BBC had determined how, when and where they worked, and they were therefore deemed employees for tax purposes.

Not long after this decision, ITV presenter Ms Helen Fospero was successful in her case before a first-tier tax tribunal. Even though she worked exclusively for ITV over a two-year period, her circumstances were different to the presenters directly employed by ITV. The tribunal found that Ms Fospero worked on an assignment-by-assignment basis and was outside IR35. HMRC may appeal the decision.

The IR35 rules target individuals who provide services through a limited company but whose actual working arrangements with the client are more like those of a directly engaged employee. Over time, the rules have been developed to try to catch more of these so-called ‘disguised employees’.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

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