Eamonn Holmes defeated in IR35 tax tribunal

Television and radio presenter Eamonn Holmes has lost an IR35 tax tribunal case and could now face a tax bill of £250,000.

The case focused on whether or not Mr Holmes should have paid income tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) as if he was an employee.

The tribunal was told that Holmes was paid as a freelancer through his personal service company, Red White and Green, with the television presenter claiming that he did not owe any income tax or NIC’s between 2011 – 2015 as a result.

However, the tribunal ruled in favour of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), stating that there was “at least a sufficient framework of control to place the assumed relationship between ITV and Mr Holmes in the employment field”.

The parties have not yet agreed on the backdated tax that will be due, but figures have estimated that this could be as high as £250,000.

The case was initially heard at the First Tier Tribunal Tax Chamber in 2018, with Holmes considering himself “totally freelance”.

Changes to the IR35, or off-payroll working rules, are set to be introduced into the private sector in April 2020, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently stating that the Government will not be “heavy-handed” over the changes for the first year of the implementation.

The case follows several high-profile IR35 rulings, with Lorraine Kelly successfully arguing that she is a freelance “theatrical artist” acting as a television host at a tribunal last year.

In the ruling, Judge Harriet Morgan said: “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 employment rather than self-employment.”

For help and advice on matters relating to employment law, including the upcoming changes to the off-payroll working rules, contact our expert team today.

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell.Solicitors
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell.Solicitors’ London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.