Radio presenter Paul Hawksbee wins pivotal IR35 appeal

Talksport presenter Paul Hawksbee has won an important IR35 tribunal case against HM Revenue & Customs over a £140,000 tax bill.

Hawksbee appealed an IR35 determination relating to a period with Talksport between 2012 and 2015. During this time, Mr Hawksbee’s limited company Kickabout Productions Limited (KPL) engaged with Talksport and entered into two separate contracts.

Hawksbee was paid a fee per programme and was required to provide his services on air for a minimum number of days per year from 1-4 PM. KPL has been engaged in similar services by Talksport since he began working for the company in 2000.

HMRC contested that his role as a co-presenter was an indicator of employment as it suggested there was an element of stability, arguing that he was “part and parcel” of the Talksport radio station.

The tribunal dismissed HMRC’s claim, stating that Paul Hawksbee was not subject to appraisals or disciplinary procedures. The tribunal granted limited weight to his tenure as a presenter, agreeing that contract renewals were dependent on the success of the programme.

Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator, said: “While this case wasn’t a landslide by any means, it again raises questions over HMRC’s ability to interpret and police IR35, as well as the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool.”

The decision bears significance, as HMRC has now only won one of the last 14 cases relating to IR35 that have gone to tribunal.

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