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IR35 battle

Adams secures victory for freelancers in tax case

Kaye Adams: case closed

Television and radio presenter Kaye Adams has secured a further victory for freelancers after HMRC lost its attempt to claim she was an employee.

The Upper Tier Tribunal upheld the original decision, made by the First-Tier Tribunal in 2019, which found Ms Adams outside of the IR35 directive. The verdict could provide comfort to other media-based freelancers currently on HMRC’s radar.

In 2019, Ms Adams successfully appealed HMRC’s challenge to her self-employed status that spanned her engagement with the BBC as presenter of ‘The Kaye Adams Programme’ during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 tax years.

She also makes appearances on ITV’s ‘Loose Women’ and ‘Paper Review’ on Sky News, in addition to writing regular columns for various newspapers and magazines.

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It was the range of work undertaken by Ms Adams that led to the final decision concerning her status, with Mr Justice Marcus Smith and Judge Jonathan Richards concluding: “…the prima facie conclusion reached at the end of Stage 2 is to be displaced because, when entering into the hypothetical contracts here at issue, Ms Adams would have been entering into business on her own account.”

In a statement released to the ContractorCalculator website following the Upper Tier Tribunal verdict, Ms Adams stated: “I am delighted that the Upper Tribunal has reaffirmed the finding of the First-Tier Tribunal confirmed my status as a freelance worker. I hope we can now consider this matter closed.”

Seb Maley, CEO of IR35 specialist, Qdos, said: “This is a timely win for all contractors, not just Kaye Adams. It shows businesses that there’s absolutely no need to make risk-averse decisions in response to IR35 reform. Firms should reverse contractor bans immediately.

“The case also demonstrates the importance of taking all factors into account when deciding IR35 status – factors such as having multiple clients, which status can evidently hinge on. 

“While HMRC losing an IR35 case is nothing unusual, that the taxman was willing to go the distance indicates the government’s determination to record a high profile victory as we close in on IR35 reform. 

“It should also be noted that Adams’ engagement, like many other presenters, was vastly different from most contractors, the majority of whom are able to prove their self-employed status with ease.”



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