Television presenter Eamonn Holmes criticised IR35 and HMRC in comments broadcast live on GB News last month. Holmes has been in a lengthy dispute with HMRC over a £250,000 backdated tax bill that he was hit with in 2018 and the remarks are the most recent of several public comments he has made regarding his case and HMRC in general.
Speaking on GB News, Holmes asserted that HMRC was the “department of thievery” for how it uses IR35 legislation to pursue people for unpaid tax. Holmes is among several television presenters to have faced an IR35-related tax dispute with the government department, with the likes of Gary Lineker, Lorraine Kelly and Dave Clark also having high-profile IR35 cases in recent years.
In similar comments made on GB News in February, Holmes said that HMRC “ruin lives” through their use of IR35 legislation to charge for alleged unpaid tax. Speaking more recently, Holmes reiterated that people were being “hounded for money they don’t have” and claimed that workers who had done work while registered self-employed were being “ruthlessly pursued”, often, Holmes added, for “no reason at all”.
Eamonn Holmes’ case related to work completed over a roughly ten-year period for a range of broadcasters, including Sky News, ITV and Channel 5. Holmes was registered as self-employed for these roles, but HMRC subsequently determined that the work should be classified as employment, a decision subsequently upheld by a court.
Holmes, who operates through a personal service company (PSC) called Red, Green and White (Ltd), is widely anticipated to appeal his HMRC tax bill. Speaking in an interview this year, Holmes called dealing with HMRC “a humiliating experience” that had raised the perception that he was “some kind of a tax dodger”.
Author: Steven English