Sky Sports presenter loses IR35 appeal in latest high profile case brought by HMRC

Sky Sports activities tennis presenter has misplaced an IR35 tax case towards HMRC on a technicality.

Barry Cowan had appealed a earlier choice by HMRC that he must be handled as an worker of Sky for tax functions, regarding work carried out between the 2014 and 2019 tax years.

The enchantment was made by a partnership middleman, Cranham Sports activities, during which Cowan is a member.

In June 2021, HMRC mentioned after taking a look at communications between Sky and Cranham Sports activities, the connection between Sky and Cowan was one in all service, and Cowan must be handled as employed by Sky.

A part of the enchantment rested on a declare by Cranham Sports activities that among the correspondence from Sky was not proven to them earlier than the choice was made.

HMRC initially despatched its choice to Cranham Sports activities in December 2021, outlining that Cranham Sports activities and Cowan might take up a proposal of an inside overview if requested inside 30 days.

Though the opposing facet replied to the e-mail, alleging HMRC had didn’t reply to factors outlined in an e-mail on the finish of July that summer season, HMRC dominated that no request for a overview had been made for 30 days.

Cowan’s representatives later argued that the dispute ought to stay open till HMRC had totally responded to those factors.

A request for a overview was finally despatched via in February 2022, 60 days from the choice letter, which was refused by HMRC.

The tribunal decide, Amanda Brown KC, mentioned: “The applicant concedes that the delay had no cause aside from the consultant made a mistake and primarily didn’t realise or imagine, in mild of the e-mail of 8 December 2021, that point was operating towards the applicant.

“Fairly than search to remediate the place as quickly as doable the consultant continued to lock horns with what he thought-about to be the outrageous conduct of HMRC.

“He didn’t enchantment however continued to make criticism to HMRC,” she mentioned.

Dave Chaplin, chief govt officer of IR35 Protect, mentioned had this case gone to a tribunal the result might have been totally different.

“This highlights the significance, significantly in IR35 instances, why taxpayers ought to have interaction with specialist advisors to defend them.

“Shedding a combat on a procedural level, with out even moving into the ring will clearly be very disappointing for Mr Cowan.”

Commenting, Dave Chaplin, CEO and founding father of IR35 Protect, a tax advisory agency which specialises in IR35 and Off-payroll issues mentioned: “That is the second particular person to fall foul of the fundamentals, and lose their IR35 case on a procedural level, following the identical errors made within the case of Michael Lynagh.

“By not responding to the HMRC view of the matter letter and failing to enchantment it inside 30 days, this fundamental error has resulted within the case being misplaced, and the flexibility to enchantment not permitted. Had it gone to tribunal, the result might have been totally different.

“This highlights the significance, significantly in IR35 instances, why taxpayers ought to have interaction with specialist advisors to defend them. Shedding a combat on a procedural level, with out even moving into the ring will clearly be very disappointing for Mr Cowan.

“Studying the ruling, it seems an opinion was fashioned by HMRC, with out the taxpayer having full entry to the fabric upon which the opinion was made. That doesn’t chime with the idea of treating taxpayers pretty, and while HMRC has gained a case, and not using a full listening to, the style about which they’ve finished so, raises considerations.

Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, added: “You must really feel for Barry Cowan. Via no fault of his personal, he gained’t have the possibility to enchantment. If latest IR35 instances involving Sky Sports activities presenters are something to go by, this large error might have value him a fortune.

“Submitting an utility to enchantment is easy stuff – it must be bread and butter for Cowan’s representatives. What’s actually worrying is that it’s not the primary time we’ve seen this occur. Late final 12 months it emerged that one other Sky Sports activities presenter, Michael Lynagh, had his request to enchantment denied as a result of his accountant missed the deadline.

“It goes with out saying that within the occasion of an IR35 investigation, you want assist you possibly can depend on. IR35 instances can carry thousands and thousands in tax legal responsibility and HMRC is noticeably ramping up its compliance exercise on this space.”

Different instances

On the finish of final month, Eamonn Holmes additionally misplaced an enchantment towards HMRC over whether or not he was instantly employed by ITV as a presenter on This Morning.

In the identical month, Gary Lineker gained his battle over almost £5mn in what HMRC mentioned was unpaid tax.

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