It had tried to argue that Adams, who also hosts a show for BBC Radio Scotland, was a BBC employee and not a freelancer – and so should be taxed under the IR35 regime.
Adams’ company, Atholl House Productions, brought an appeal against a PAYE tax bill of £81,000 and another £43,000 for national insurance contributions. HMRC had brought the tax charges for the period between March 2015 and March 2017, during which Adams presented the BBC’s The Kaye Adams Show.
Yesterday, the First-Tier Tribunal ruled that Adams was a freelancer with roles outside the BBC, and did not have employee rights at the company.
The ruling in Adams’ favour marks the latest in a string of IR35 cases that HMRC has lost. Last month, the presenter Lorraine Kelly won a case when a tribunal ruled that she was a contractor, and a “theatrical artist”, not an ITV employe.
Andy Chamberlain, deputy director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), said the ruling was a further example of HMRC’s “failure to understand its own labyrinthine self-employed tax laws”.
“This should be a loud warning bell to the government not to extend the hugely damaging changes to IR35 to the private sector next April,” he said. “When HMRC clearly cannot understand these tax laws, how can they possibly expect businesses across the UK to?”
ICAEW has argued for a delay to implementation of IR35 for the private sector until next year. It says that while one system for all is necessary, the problems that arose when tougher IR35 rules were applied to the public sector in 2017 have still to be addressed and the system is not yet ready to be launched in the much larger private sector.