Adrian Chiles wins £1.7 million IR35 tribunal case

21 February 2022

The tax tribunal has sided with Adrian Chiles’ company, Basic Broadcasting Ltd, in a case brought by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seeking over £1.7 million in tax and national insurance from 2012 to 2017. 

Lorraine Kelly won a similar case, over a £1.2 million bill, while Sky Sports presenter Dave Clarke, lost his appeal and was given a bill worth around £281,000. Gary Lineker’s case, for £4.9 million, continues to be investigated.

Judge Cannan ruled that Chiles’ contracts were for services and not contracts of employment, therefore IR35 rules did not apply in these cases. It was noted that while there was a level of control, mutuality of obligation and no option for replacement, it was necessary to “stand back” and look at the situation as a whole. The judge also indicated that it did not appear that Chiles set out to avoid paying tax.

HMRC has stated they will now need to carefully look at “the outcome of the tribunal before considering next steps”. The judgment can be appealed, and if HMRC feel they still have a strong enough case we can expect this to happen.

With more judgements on IR35 being given, does this help our understanding of the regulations or just muddy the waters further? This is a very complicated area of tax and employment law, hopefully these rulings will lead to further clarity for all employers who need to understand them.


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