Well, no, not quite

Contractors suspected of being “false employees” win the vast majority of tax tribunal cases brought against them – raising further questions over the taxman’s ability to enforce the rules accurately.

The successful finding against BBC television presenter Christa Ackroyd, who was ordered to pay £419,000 by a tribunal, has been hailed as a huge win for the taxman.

But analysis of other cases relating to “off-payroll” working by advice service Contractor Calculator found that this was an exception. HMRC has won just one of the 10 cases it has brought to tribunal against the self-employed in the past decade. Another of the 10 was a split decision.

Looks more like a failure to understand the rules than enforce them on HMRC’s part.

11 thoughts on “Well, no, not quite”

  1. Did they mean to write “one-in-ten”; or have there really only been ten cases brought to tribunal in the last decade? If so, I imagine a lot more were settled before they got that far.

  2. Didn’t we learn just yesterday that HMRC would do anything top get the money while staying out of court. When I stretched the arcane rules of IR35 my non-employer would have folded like wet cardboard under any threat of proceedings. Chances are there were 100 cases, 90 settled in HMRCs favour, ten good cases taken to court by confident employers and one lost.

  3. It’s probably anathema to the media and to the likes of Murphy and Prem Sicko but if anyone wants to actually understand what IR35 is about, the attached link gives a passable outline –


    and the following is a decent summary of where we are at the moment with the law;


    Alternatively just shout about tax avoidance, tax havens and paying the most amount of tax, most of the time in every place you can (or something)

  4. It’s a rather grey law and my guess is that the losses were more about the early days when noone had sorted it all out. Most cases today are borderline because accountants tell diguised employees not to do it. You get into questions of whether a contractor in a company for 5 years is really a contractor.

    But this isn’t a ‘huge win” for the taxman. The BBC cases are blatant tax evasion. Previously employees, left and became contractors. Worked there for years and did no other work for anyone else.

    My accountant would have advised them not to waste their time in court, if asked.

  5. An acquaintance of mine used to invoice his client’s various subsidiary companies so to all appearances he had multiple clients.

  6. @BraveFart


    I think we owe it to Laffer to drop him a line warning him of the odious bumptious fatuous fatheaded and egotistical nature of the opponent he’s up against.

  7. Bravefart, wonder if we will ever see any transcripts/video footage of the “debate”. It would be joyous to behold as Arthur rips Murphy a new one.

  8. Well he bragged about winning against Dan Mitchell from CATO but, to judge by Murph’s account, the stakes were rigged

  9. I have just ot ten mines of my life reading back through his arguments in that Toronto debate. He argues very very strongly that the corporate and its participant are so unrelated a direct tax on the participant jist couldn’t COULDN’T work. In the next question he insists that the limited liability enjoyed by the participant is such an abuse it amounts to a violation of the human rights of the party (freely) trading with the corporate. This can only be rectified by charging the corporate more tax (even though it is entirely unrelated to the the participant etc etc – now I’m just boring you)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *