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HMRC throws in towel on Kaye Adams’s IR35 ruling

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HMRC has decided against pursuing Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams for the fifth time over her IR35 status.

25th Jan 2024
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HMRC has thrown in the towel on continuing the 10-year IR35 case involving TV presenter Kaye Adams, saying it wouldn’t be “proportionate” to appeal the first tier tax tribunal’s decision in November, which found the Scottish broadcaster’s contracts with BBC to be outside IR35.

HMRC first opened enquiries into Adams’ personal services company Atholl House Productions in 2014. The drawn-out investigation went through four tax tribunal rulings, with HMRC maintaining that Adams owed £124,441.58 tax and NIC for the tax years 2015/16 and 2016/17. 

The first tier tribunal (FTT) sided with Adams in 2019, then HMRC took an appeal to the upper tribunal, arguing that the FTT made errors, but the tribunal still sided with the taxpayer. HMRC found success at the court of appeal in 2022. However, Adams successfully challenged this decision in November last year. 

Confirming that HMRC was not going to appeal the decision, an HMRC spokesperson said: “Given this litigation has been ongoing for a number of years and the FTT does not set binding legal precedents, we don’t think it would be proportionate to appeal in this case. 

“We always seek to resolve disputes out of court first and only take action to litigate where this isn’t possible.” 

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Replies (8)

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By Justin Bryant
25th Jan 2024 15:33

A typically disingenuous and mealy-mouthed HMRC excuse. See also: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/business-tax/post-office-and-hmrc-tw...

HMRC almost put the P.O. Horizon scandal prosecutors to shame here.

Thanks (3)
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By FactChecker
25th Jan 2024 15:37

This says it all - particularly that final sentence:

"Chaplin also took fire at HMRC’s claim that FTT rulings do not set legal precedents:
“The importance of Atholl House cannot be underestimated and has set considerable legal precedents at both the upper tier and court of appeal, which HMRC’s litigation teams are currently relying on in other cases being litigated.
To ignore Atholl House is to deliberately ignore the law.”

See Dave's article today at https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/business-tax/post-office-and-hmrc-tw...
EDIT: I'm going to have to learn to type faster - Justin's beaten me to it re link.

Thanks (3)
Replying to FactChecker:
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By johnjenkins
29th Jan 2024 10:06

Weird that. HMRC says FTT don't set precedents so the "blue circle" case (which started all this nonsense) cannot be relied upon by them.

Thanks (1)
By Nick Graves
29th Jan 2024 11:21

Quintuple jeopardy, huh?

Reminds me of the PC Savage sketch from NTNON...

I'd describe it as a witch hunt, but that could be misinterpreted as a sleight against Ms Adams.

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By Jack the Lad
29th Jan 2024 13:02

Can someone in the know explain to me why costs weren't claimed or awarded against HMRC?

Surely HMRC should be called to account for pursuing what was clearly an unwinnable case, or it should have been treated as a "test case", so that the costs of the FTT and upwards were paid by HMRC (ie us taxpayers)?

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Replying to Jack the Lad:
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By johnjenkins
29th Jan 2024 14:16

Because HMRC wanted to carry on appealing so some sort of deal would've been struck.

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By Tom+Cross
29th Jan 2024 16:24

Once again, and it happens time and time again, another (public sector) department, which seems incapable of demonstrating accountability. Every Government agency, which I come across, 'shields' individuals and departments who approach those, 'on the other side' with an aggresive and threatening tone. And yet, telephone an HMRC helpline and you're 'greeted' with the mantra that HMRC is a place where they will not tolerate indifference, in whatever form it takes.
Over the last few years it has been noticeable how the public sector has declined in performance and standards, seemingly, without question, or interference from those who allegedly uphold values.
Kaye Adams, in her own words, came up against 'textbook gaslighting' and that is an appalling accusation for HMRC to live with.
When oh when will these people grow up and stop behaving like the proverbial school bully.

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Replying to Tom+Cross:
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By raycad
29th Jan 2024 16:52

Replying to Tom Cross, who says:

"..... telephone an HMRC helpline and you're 'greeted' with the mantra that HMRC is a place where they will not tolerate indifference ......."

No, they'll tolerate indifference for sure! I can't check now as, of course, the Helplines are shut (!) but I think what the recorded message says is that they won't tolerate insults. However, in HMRC's mindset, "insults" equates to vocalising exasperation; or maybe saying "we think you are wrong and would ask you to reconsider or submit to a higher level"!

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