Eamonn Holmes | TV star loses IR35 tax case

TV star loses IR35 tax case

Journalist Eamonn Holmes may be hit with a £250,000 bill by HM Revenue and Customs, the Daily Mail has reported.

Despite claiming he was a freelancer and receiving payments via his company, the ITV This Morning host lost his case against the taxman.

Sources have since revealed that Holmes now owes £250,000 in taxes on top of the payments he has already made.

A spokesperson for the presenter claimed that he ‘has always considered himself a self-employed freelancer and has never knowingly avoided paying taxes’.

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It has been revealed that Holmes is ‘seeking to comprehend what this means’ and wished for better ‘clarity and consistency across the guidelines’ so others do not ‘suffer the same confusion’ over the rulings.

HMRC has been closely examining how TV stars are paid as freelancers through personal service companies, stating yesterday that it ‘welcomes the judgement’.

Back in 2018, Holmes stated that he was a ‘test case’ in HMRC’s campaign, suggesting that if they won they would ‘go after everyone else’.

“I was in a court in central London for a week in June. I've been freelance for 28 years and that's been okay,” Holmes added.

“Now they've said it's not okay. They have reinvented the rules in the past couple of years. There is nobody more freelance than me, but they are trying to prove our jobs are regular and guaranteed. They could go at any moment.”

Commenting on the news, Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator, expressed confusion over the fact Holmes had lost his case, despite being a freelancer for almost four decades.

He explained: “It’s been very surprising to learn that Eamonn Holmes lost his IR35 case despite being a freelancer for almost four decades, working for a wide variety of broadcasting companies.

“The IR35 case law for broadcasters in the media sector appears to have tied itself into knots. It’s difficult to understand how the rules have not applied to some presenters, but yet they do for Eamonn Holmes. Many of these cases are going to Upper Tribunal where we hope to see some clarity to the law. But that could be years away.

“This is not a case of tax avoidance, and not the kind of situation which the IR35 legislation was brought in to combat, 20 years ago. In my view neither Holmes nor ITV shares any blame here – the fault lies with an unworkable piece of legislation that no-one properly understands.”

Last year, HMRC lost cases against ITV star Lorraine Kelly, Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams and talkSPORT presenter Paul Hawksbee, after they all successfully argued that they were in fact freelancers.

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However, the confusion around the legislation is still causing issues for many stars in the public eye.

Plus, with the upcoming changes to off-payroll working rules set to come into effect from April this year, there may be more cases that will headlines in the coming weeks.

Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos, commented: “It’s no secret that HMRC is pursuing high-profile cases ahead of changes to the rules in the private sector. But having already failed to win IR35 tribunals against Lorraine Kelly and Talksport’s Paul Hawksbee in the past year, the tax office still has difficulty interpreting the very rules it designed.”

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