HMRC has decided not to appeal the decade-long IR35 case involving renowned Loose Women presenter Kaye Adams, marking the end of a protracted legal battle.
The revelation comes after Adams’ successful appeal in November 2023 against the Court of Appeal’s ruling, which had initially sided with HMRC.
The controversy began in 2014 when HMRC initiated an investigation into Adams’ IR35 status, specifically scrutinising her contracts with the BBC.
The tax office asserted that Adams fell within the IR35 regulations for the tax years 2012/13 to 2016/17, claiming she owed a substantial sum of £124,441.58.
Adams vehemently contested HMRC’s stance, leading to a series of appeals that traversed the first-tier and upper-tier tax tribunals. The case ultimately reached the Court of Appeal in 2022, resulting in a decision favouring HMRC. Undeterred, Adams continued her legal battle, and in a surprising twist, her appeal was upheld in November 2023.
HMRC has chosen not to pursue the case any further
Despite having 56 days to launch a further appeal, HMRC has chosen not to pursue the case any further. This decision signifies a significant development in Adams’ favour, bringing an end to a relentless pursuit that has spanned ten years.
Seb Maley, CEO of IR35 specialist Qdos, expressed his views on the matter, stating, “HMRC has finally admitted defeat. The tax office has recklessly pursued this case for the best part of a decade – at a huge cost, both to Kaye Adams and taxpayers, whose money has been wasted.”
Maley further criticised HMRC’s handling of the case, emphasising that the amount spent on the legal battle far exceeded the £124,000 tax liability under dispute. He questioned the tax office’s understanding of its own rules and its ability to enforce them effectively.
“While this will be a huge relief for Kaye Adams, that she had to endure this ordeal in the first place is astonishing, frankly,” Maley added. He highlighted the irony in HMRC’s recent publication of a factsheet discussing its “duty to manage the UK tax system so all taxpayers are treated fairly,” given the handling of this IR35 case and other contentious issues such as the Loan Charge.
The conclusion of this high-profile case raises questions about HMRC’s approach to tax enforcement and its commitment to fair treatment of taxpayers, leaving both Adams and observers to reflect on the toll of a decade-long legal battle.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.