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IR35: Eamonn Holmes found to be employed for tax purposes

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes has lost his appeal against a 2018 tax tribunal finding that income tax and national insurance was due on his earnings as presenter of This Morning because his contract with ITV amounted to employment for tax purposes.

ITV engaged Mr Holmes via his personal services company, and he argued that he was “totally freelance” and had “total control” over how he acted as a presenter on This Morning. However, in a Judgment of the Upper Tax Tribunal published on 21 February, the Judge found that “there was sufficient mutuality and at least a sufficient framework of control to place the assumed relationship between ITV and Mr Holmes in the employment field.

The Judge said that “On that basis and, having regard to all other relevant factors, my view is that overall, throughout all relevant tax years, the assumed relationship between ITV and Mr Holmes was one of an employment rather than self-employment.”

He argued that he was “totally freelance” and had “total control”.

In essence, the finding is that, if you took the intermediary out of the picture, it was work an employee would be doing.

This highlights how important it is for all businesses which engage consultants and contractors to understand how different working arrangements will affect their financials.

This is a case under law on IR35 as it is at present, meaning that Mr Holmes’ personal service company will have to pay the tax and national insurance due, which is estimated to be in the region of £250,000. Had this been decided under the new IR35 law which will apply from 6 April 2020, it would have been ITV picking up the tab.

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