For the first time in seven years, HMRC has won an IR35 case. It brought the case against Christa Ackroyd Media. Christa Ackroyd, who used to present Look North, lost her appeal, with HMRC saying that she owed National Insurance Contributions and tax for the years 2006/7 to 2012/13. The presenter will have to pay £419,151.
This is the first judgement from several appeals that involve television presenters who work via personal service companies (PSCs). These appeals are the result of a mass clampdown on IR35 in October 2016. Further cases may also result in significant rulings.
Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator, said: “Unfortunately for Ms Ackroyd, her engagement with the BBC simply contained too many factors pointing towards an employment relationship. One positive for contractors is that no case law precedents will be set by this case. Nonetheless, there are important lessons to be learnt.”
Ackroyd worked via her limited company for the BBC on the Look North programme. Ms Ackroyd said that she made the decision to operate through a limited company at the insistence of the BBC. She checked the terms of the agreement with her accountant, who assured her that all was in order. Ms Ackroyd also said that the BBC had guaranteed her control and independence. However, the court found that the terms of her contract and the working practices pointed more to employment than self-employment.
Cross-examination revealed that the BBC had final control over content, and Ms Ackroyd could not offer services to other organisations without permission from the company.