Freelance company actor faces £150,000 tax bill

An actor at the BBC who was on a list of 469 media figures who the taxman was “working through” in relation to their IR35 status has reportedly been defeated.

Robert Glenister, who featured in the drama Hustle, lost his First-tier Tax Tribunal case this month, cueing up HMRC to collect the £147,547 in NICs that he was trying to contest.

The bill was presented to Mr Glenister because the Revenue disputed his claim to be self-employed, for a 10 year-period when he worked at the BBC via a Personal Service Company.

However, the actor looks set to fight the ruling, which a FTT court document reportedly says is being viewed as a ‘test case.’

“This is not a tax avoidance case and we are considering an appeal,” Glenister clarified to the Financial Times.

He also told the newspaper: “It is yet another unfair cash grab that treats genuinely self-employed…[people] as employees contrary to government policy.”

The other ‘cash grab’ referred to was not elaborated on by the actor, but it is likely he meant the off-payroll rules, which hit "public authority" end-users, like the BBC, in April.

Due to the extra costs of payrolling previously off-payroll workers, some affected outfits have made cuts to remuneration, to cover their need to pay employer’s national insurance.

During his time at the BBC, Glenister has appeared in a range of its programmes, including Doctor Who, Only Fools and Horses and more recently Spooks, a spy drama series.

Although the full judgment is not yet publicly available, HMRC said it was “pleased” that the tribunal has agreed with its viewpoint about Glenister’s engagement with the BBC.

In a reported statement, the department also stated: “Employment status is never a matter of choice and is always dictated by the specific facts.”


18th October 2017

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