Risks of non-compliance
Whether or not Lineker is found to be self-employed, this case highlights the potential risks of non-compliance, not just to freelancers and contractors, but the businesses that engage them, Maley warned.
With this in mind, it’s crucial that employers and HR teams are equipped with the right knowledge concerning IR35, as medium and large businesses are now liable for mistakes made when it comes to IR35 following the off-payroll reform.
“Should HMRC find that an incorrect IR35 status decision has been made, the fee-paying party – which is either the end-client or the agency – will owe tax, interest and possibly even penalties in due course,” Maley told HR Grapevine. “The vast sums in the Lineker case show just how important it is that businesses make well-informed and compliant IR35 decisions.”
To avoid this, Maley advised that organisations can ensure compliance is met by prioritising fair and rigorous IR35 assessments.
He added: “Blanket decisions – where contractors are all placed inside IR35 irrespective of their true status – are non-compliant. Ideally, businesses should be making case-by-case decisions following an expert IR35 status review carried out by an objective and independent party with no financial gain in the outcome of the assessment.”
Other high-profile cases
HMRC has previously set its sights on various high-profile stars, including the likes of ITV star Lorraine Kelly, Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams and talkSPORT presenter Paul Hawksbee.
While HMRC lost cases against each of these stars, journalist Eamonn Holmes was not so successful.
In 2020, despite claiming he was a freelancer and received payments via his company, the former This Morning host lost his case against the taxman and was hit with a £250,000 bill.
Image credit: BBC/Mindhouse Productions
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