In RS Dhillon and GP Dhillon Partnership v HMRC [2017] TC 05583 the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that lorry drivers were employees and not self-employed.

  • The taxpayers’ business involved the delivery of asphalt and other aggregates for its customers.
  • They had a pool of drivers that they would use for deliveries.
  • There were no written contracts with drivers, who were normally only contacted the day before they were needed to offer them work.
  • The drivers were paid a fixed amount per shift worked, but received no holiday or sickness pay.
  • The drivers could refuse an offer of work, but could only supply a substitute if they had exceeded the legal limit on hours they could drive.
  • The business provided the lorries, the drivers provided their own personal protective equipment.

Applying the case law tests the FTT concluded that, on balance, the drivers were employees and not self-employed:

  • The fact that the drivers operated without supervision and had a limited right of substitution were indicators of self-employment.
  • The lack of evidence that the drivers were in business on their own account combined with the prescriptive rules for the performance of deliveries pointed to employment.
  • There was a ‘master and servant’ relationship between the taxpayers and the drivers, who were essentially ‘day labourers’.
  • This, combined with the lack of evidence the drivers were running their own businesses, pointed to them being employees rather than self-employed.


Our subscriber guide: Employment status

Case reference: RS Dhillon and GP Dhillon Partnership v HMRC [2017] TC 05583