Hot on the heels of the Atholl House case, also known as the Kaye Adams case, another significant IR35 battle has concluded, resulting in a victory for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This time, the focus was on Sky Sports presenter Phil Thompson, who provided services through his personal service company, PD & MJ Ltd.

The tribunal found in favour of HMRC, declaring that the Chapter 8 intermediaries legislation (IR35) applied, and PD & MJ Ltd owed approximately £294,306.68 for PAYE and national insurance contributions (NICs) spanning the years 2014 to 2018.

The crux of the case revolved around the examination of a hypothetical contract to determine whether Thompson had a contract of employment with Sky or operated as a self-employed individual under a contract for services.

The FTT concluded that when considering the entire picture, the factors combined to establish a contract of employment. Notably, the FTT did not consider Thompson’s later employment status as it post-dated the relevant period.

This decision contrasts with a previous case involving Stuart Barnes, where the individual demonstrated a higher degree of being in business on his own account.

Despite the ruling, it is important to note that this FTT decision does not set a precedent, and Thompson has 56 days to appeal.

Qdos Reacts to Phil Thompson’s £300k IR35 Loss

IR35 specialist Qdos responded to the news of Phil Thompson’s loss in the IR35 case, which carries an approximate tax liability of £300,000. Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos, emphasised the complexity of IR35 rules and HMRC’s persistent pursuit of perceived non-compliance among high-profile freelance presenters.

Maley noted the contrast with the recent Kaye Adams case, underlining the intricate nature of IR35 regulations. Despite the outcome, Maley pointed out that most freelancers and contractors can demonstrate genuine self-employment, urging businesses to rigorously review each freelancer’s IR35 status to avoid costly non-compliance issues.






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 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.