Eamonn Holmes has lost IR35 case against HMRC

25 February 2020

Well-known TV personality, Eamonn Holmes, who presents predominantly on ITV, has lost his IR35 case against HMRC and will be liable for up to £250,000 in tax as a result.

Mr. Holmes, who co-hosts alongside wife, Ruth Langsford on ITV’s daytime show, This Morning, argued that he was paid as a freelancer via his personal broadcasting company, Red White and Green Limited, and so did not owe tax or national insurance contributions on pay relating to the period between 2011 and 2015. He stated that during this period he was “totally freelance” and had “total control” over how he acted as a presenter on the show.

The decision at the appeal level, which related to a case initially heard at the First Tier Tribunal Tax Chamber back in June 2018, by Judge Harriet Morgan was that Mr. Holmes was, in actual fact, employed by ITV, and so was liable to pay tax under IR35 rules. She said:

"I have concluded 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.

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."

There have been several cases recently in which HMRC has come up against individuals from within the entertainment industry, some of which it has won and others it has lost. This demonstrates how assessing whether or not a person is ‘inside IR35’ is dependent on individual circumstances, and why blanket assessments should be avoided.

Christa Ackroyd, Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Willcox are amongst other TV presenters who have lost their cases against HMRC. Conversely, Helen Fospero, Kaye Adams and Lorraine Kelly have claimed victory against HMRC over its off-payroll tax clampdown. The outcome of the cases has been determined based on the principles of substitution, control and mutuality of obligation, which differ based on each particular situation.


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