Kaye Adams wins case and is ruled outside IR35 due to being ‘in business on own account’

Written by Caunce O'Hara
Last updated March 10, 2021

In a landmark IR35 case that will be welcomed by PSCs, but will not be widely applied, television presenter Kaye Adams has been ruled as working outside IR35.

The journalist and television presenter, best known for her role as one of four anchors on ITV show Loose Women, won her case based on being in business on her own account.

HMRC v Atholl House Productions Ltd has been described as an unusual case because it creates case law precedent that will be of benefit to celebrities and those in the spotlight but will not necessarily be of any help to contractors in general.

The in-business factors considered in the case outweighed the key factors of mutuality, control and personal service, which could be significant but is not to be relied upon for contractors as their sole line of defence.

The key point that won the case for the Loose Women presenter was her 20 years’ industry experience on a freelance basis, something only veteran contractors can call upon.

The Upper Tribunal found that Kaye Adams had continued her work as an independent contractor rather than as an employee. So, even though control and mutuality were satisfied, the third test – where the court determines whether under the hypothetical contract Ms Adams would have been an employee of the BBC, was not satisfied.


Looking at the overall picture

The case ultimately came down to impressions versus reality, both in terms of the contract and what it means to be in business as a professional freelancer.

HMRC argued their case based on case law, whereas Ms Adams believed she was a genuine freelancer based on her own view and the impression of what being a freelancer actually means.

The Upper Tribunal agreed with HMRC’s view regarding how case law applied to this case, but also looked at the whole picture and decided that Ms Adams’ impression was correct.

The tribunal accepted that throughout her career Ms Adams had tended to carry out her profession as an independent contractor rather than an employee.

This indicates that how a contractor operates as a business in its own account can be enough to overrule control and mutuality of obligation, which could be significant in how contracts are determined for IR35 employment status.

Being ‘in business on your own account’ has risen in importance as a result of this ruling and contractors should ensure they can prove they are in business through being able to prove their running costs; risks of running a business; insurance policies; business website, email and business card; and client invoices. They should also ensure they do not accept any perks of employment.

Click here to read more about the factors that determine IR35 status.


Caunce O’Hara offer a range of business insurance solutions to help contractors stay protected including Tax Enquiry & Legal Expenses Insurance, which provides cover for costs incurred by a HMRC investigation. Tel 0333 321 1403.

Markel Tax offer specialist IR35 tax services to help end client decision-makers ensure they are compliant with the legislation.  Agencies who may be concerned about their fee payer liability can also consider insurance. To find out more, please contact Markel Tax on 0345 223 2727.







Written by Caunce O'Hara
Last updated March 10, 2021

Related IR35 content

DWP hit with huge tax bill for historic IR35 contractor status assessment errors

It has emerged that the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) was hit with a huge £87.9 million tax bill…

Read more

IR35 private sector changes to go ahead next week

Changes to IR35 in the private sector will go ahead on 6th April 2021, despite hopes for a further delay….

Read more

Kaye Adams wins case and is ruled outside IR35 due to being ‘in business on own account’

In a landmark IR35 case that will be welcomed by PSCs, but will not be widely applied, television presenter Kaye…

Read more

UK Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers not self-employed

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision should come as no surprise given that Uber’s appeal follows an Employment Tribunal ruling against…

Read more

Private sector IR35 soon to be reality

On April 6th 2021, the contractor’s worst scenario will become reality… IR35 in the private sector will finally go live….

Read more

Just 2 months left until the IR35 reform: what do contractors need to know?

On the 6th April 2021, the IR35 private sector changes will come into effect. With this date now just a…

Read more

The blanket approach to IR35

The delay in the introduction of the IR35 legislation allowed contractors and their clients extra time to prepare. It also…

Read more

IR35 news: Eamonn Holmes loses his IR35 case against HMRC

Holmes, a broadcaster for over 40 years, was providing his services through a limited company called Red, White and Green…

Read more

HMRC “kicks back” in latest IR35 case

HMRC “kicks back” at Upper Tribunal in latest win against Paul Hawksbee In July 2019 we saw the fight between…

Read more

Off-payroll working in the private sector

Despite the protests and lobbying of the Government, the only reference in the Budget notes makes it very clear that…

Read more

The impact of finance sector IR35 decisions on contractors

IR35 reform to the private sector was already having a negative impact on contractors working in the finance sector prior…

Read more

Lord’s committee expresses concerns over IR35

IR35 off-payroll reform was due to be rolled-out to the private sector on April 6th of this year, but due…

Read more

Suggestions to move IR35 reforms to 2023 are rejected

Amendments to the IR35 private sector are set to go ahead from April 2021, despite suggestions from a Conservative MP…

Read more

COVID-19 and IR35: Should your clients relax now the legislation is postponed?

Steve Barclay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, announced that due to the effects of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the changes to…

Read more

11th hour delay for IR35 private sector reform due to COVID-19 welcomed

The Government has delayed its controversial IR35 private sector reform by one year, until April 2021, because of the COVID-19…

Read more

No delay to IR35 rollout as the Government launches off-payroll review

The Government launched its off-payroll review on January 7th with regards to the implementation of the changes to the off-payroll…

Read more

What are the political parties saying about IR35?

In April 2020 the contractor and freelance community are set to be hit by changes to IR35 legislation which could…

Read more

Six reasons for PSCs to be proactive to respond to the IR35 private sector changes and not wait until April 2020 to do so!

Since April 2000, the Intermediaries legislation has made the individual contractor trading through his/her own Personal Service Company (PSC) the…

Read more

What impact will IR35 reforms have on North Sea operators?

With high levels of talent engaged through off payroll structures in the energy sector, the North Sea operators will feel…

Read more

Are you ready for IR35 changes?

Proposed changes to IR35 legislation could mean thousands of contractors may pay more tax. With the Government’s consultation on contracting…

Read more

IR35 and CEST Update

The IR35 story continues to rumble on taking twists and turns along the way and most of us believe it…

Read more

U-Turn on Self-employed NIC but no change to Public Sector rules on IR35

The ink has yet to dry on Philip Hammond’s first budget as Chancellor but his proposed national insurance increases for…

Read more

IR35 Products & services

Caunce O’Hara’s partnership with Markel enables us to offer a broad range of IR35-based products to protect contractors, fee-payers and end clients across the UK.

IR35 Hub Related IR35 content