In Big Bad Wolff Limited v HMRC [2017] TC06143, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) considered the interaction of IR35 and the special rules for actors prior to 6 April 2014.

  • The employment intermediary rules, known as IR35 imposes employment taxes on a personal service company (PSC) where the arrangements between the worker and the end client are such that the worker would have been an employee if engaged directly.
  • Prior to 6 April 2014, special rules applied to entertainers, whereby they would be categorised as employed earners for NIC purposes, even in circumstances where they would be deemed self employed for income tax purposes; from 6 April 2014 the normal rules apply.

The appellant (Wolff) was the personal service company of Robert Glenister (RG), but it was noted that this was a test case for a number of other actors in similar circumstances.

On 3 February 2016, HMRC raised an assessment for Class 1 NIC covering the period from 6 April 2004 to 5 April 2014.

It was common ground that

  • RG had contracted his services through Wolff until 2011, after which he had contracted with end clients directly
  • The contract between RG and the end clients would have been a contract for services, not employment
  • If RG had contracted directly, he would have been deemed employed for NIC purposes.

The FTT found that

  • The legislation was intended to catch this situation
  • RG would have been an employed earner (though not an employee) for NIC purposes if he contracted directly
  • The assessment was upheld.


Big Bad Wolff Limited v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 729 (TC)

Entertainers to be self employed for NICS

NIC: New guidance for entertainers