Eamonn Holmes loses appeal over tax ruling

Eamonn Holmes loses appeal over tax ruling

Eamonn Holmes lost an appeal over a tax ruling that was associated with his earnings as a presenter on This Morning.

The 63 year-old broadcaster should be taxed as an ITV employee for his work on the programme, rather than as a freelancer, according to the upper tribunal judges.

He brought a case against HMRC over the income tax and national insurance it levied on the money ITV paid to the Holmes company Red, White and Green Limited between 2012 and 2015.

HMRC said that Holmes needed to pay tax under what are known as off-payroll working rules because he has a contract directly with ITV, he is classed as an employee.

Lawyers for Mr Holmes argued that the journalist was freelance and his income was accounted for as self-employment.

The case was similar to that against Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, with Lineker winning his appeal against 4.9 M of alleged unpaid tax in that case.

After reading the decision, Dave Chaplin, CEO of IR 35 Shield, who was watching the hearing, said: Seeking to appeal a decision from the First-tier tribunal requires an error of law to be identified, for which the bar is high.

There is a limited scope for the UT to interfere with the evaluative judgment of the FTT, despite some compelling arguments being made.

The arguments that Holmes was in business on his own account, especially for his work on Sunrise, could not be fully explored because the FTT did not have enough evidence to make conclusions. The UT was unable to interfere with that aspect.

In light of HMRC saying they disagreed with Gary Lineker's decision, it will be interesting to see if HMRC agree with this one.

The overall result for Holmes is wrong, but the difficulty is that the Upper-tier is not a full rematch, and more evidence cannot be put on the table. The UT referred to the evidence and insufficiency of a number of times, and it is notable that Holmes Barrister wanted more evidence to be adduced. The challenge for Holmes is that he would have to have a time machine to know what the Court of Appeal would say many years later about being in business on his own account, which was released on April 26th, 2022 in the Atholl House case. If he and his advisor knew, perhaps more evidence would have been put before the tribunal, and the outcome would have been different.