'IT'S like Countdown: I've [...].
Byline: AMANDA VIGAR, OF THE VIGAR GROUP
'IT'S like Countdown: I've got six numbers from the return, but I just can't get to the total that HMRC's version of CECIL has generated from them!" the Chief Elf threw up his hands as the BattleAxe perused the screen.
"Well," she said, "you've started from the position that HMRC must have applied logic, which doesn't by any means always ring true. In addition, you're assuming that they know the rules, which history suggests is also a brave assumption!" "Maybe they trying to shoehorn this client into IR35?" the Chief Elf piped up. "I mean, the latest cases do seem to be spreading the net far and wide and if you squinted hard you might just."
"Don't get me started!" barked the retort and, as the Chief Elf made a mental note that he appeared to have done just that, the BattleAxe continued: "Desperation! The broadcasting cases are just another example of HMRC being high on PR and low on case quality. Mind you, with Paul Hawksbee it was a closer thing than a number of HMRC's attempts of late."
"What was different about that one?" the Chief Elf asked, turning the screen away.
"To start with, reports suggests the documentation wasn't great. Contracts rather than letters and getting things addressed to the right people are generally considered good practice. Also, substitution isn't that easy to have when you're talking about a radio presenter - I mean, few people want to find they're listening to you ramble on about management accounts instead of a scintillating hour with me on tax planning, do they?" The Chief Elf was hurt but the BattleAxe was oblivious. "This case hinged on small-print spotted by the Judge on the panel. His view was that as Talksport didn't have to broadcast the shows there wasn't the obligation to provide work that marks out employeeemployer relationships. "Actually, on a couple of occasions the show hadn't gone out, re-enforcing his point.
"Not only that but while Talksport could set the time and location, they didn't control how the show was actually run. Had Paul been an employee, he'd have had to do it the way he was told to."
She shot the Chief Elf a meaningful glance. "And some standard employment-style features around things like holidays or sick pay were missing from the agreement. Overall the evidence slowly built up that this wasn't employment, but there was no one knock-out blow.
"Finally, the Judge pointed out that while he had 222 shows to do, Paul could work for other people and gave up projects in order to broadcast them. I think that's a first: a Judge using opportunity cost as evidence against employment!
"Either way, the paperwork should still have been right and HMRC should have thought about the rules and not bothered!" She grabbed the screen, "Now, what on earth have they done with the reliefs on this one?" The Chief Elf sighed. At the back of his mind he could hear a famous piece of ticking music.