What was the difference between the facts and circumstances of the recent IR35 decisions on radio and TV hosts, Kay Adams, Lorraine Kelly, Christa Ackroyd and Eamonn Holmes?

All three have had their business arrangements tested before First Tier Tribunal (FTT) as follows:

  • In Atholl House Productions Limited v HMRC [2023] TC02263, unpon re-hearing, the FTT found that TV presenter Kay Adams was not subject to IR35. She was an independent provider of services carrying on a profession on her own account. The decision was upheld by the Upper Tribunal(UT). In April 2022, the Court of Appeal found that the decisions of both the FTT and the UT were flawed and the case was remitted back to the UT for a new hearing.
  • In Albatel Limited v HMRC [2019] TC07045, the FTT allowed appeals against assessments of £1.2m on Lorraine Kelly’s personal service company. IR35 did not apply, ITV did not employ her, it was buying her brand.
  • In Christa Ackroyd Media Limited v HMRC [2018] TC06334, the FTT held that a BBC television presenter was caught by the IR35 regulations. The decision has been upheld by the Upper Tribunal. The appeal related solely to the question of control and the UT held that there was sufficient control over Ms Ackroyd by the BBC for IR35 to apply. 
  • In Red, White and Green Limited v HMRC [2020] TC7603, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) held that Eamonn Holmes' contract with ITV to present Good Morning was caught by IR35. There was mutuality of obligation and ITV had overall control. This decision was upheld by the Upper Tribunal.

Each case turns on its own facts, decisions made by the FTT do not set a judicial precedent however they can be very useful to follow. Upper Tribunal (UT) decisions do bind the FTT, so the cases that have been upheld by the UT have further weight.

Comparison of key features of each case

Who Kay Adams Lorraine Kelly Christa Ackroyd Eamonn Holmes
Personal Service Company Atholl House
Productions Limited
Albatel Ltd Christa Ackroyd Media Limited Red, White and
Green limited
End client BBC ITV BBC  ITV
Main programme The Kay Adams Programme Lorraine and Daybreak Look North This Morning
Also famous for role in: Loose Women TV-am, GMTV, ITV Breakfast Calendar Sunrise (Sky News), Good Morning Britain
Within IR35 No A long running saga which endded up being remitted back to the FTT by Court of Appeal to hear more evidence No Yes - upheld by UT  Yes - upheld by UT
A brand in their own right Yes Yes Not discussed  Not discussed
Worked mainly for End-Client No Yes Yes  No
Length of End -Client contract 1 Year but rolled on over many years 2.5 years 7 years  1 Year
Salient features of relationship with End-Client

Absence of control

Wrote own scripts

BBC did not have to consent to non-BBC engagements

No use of BBC equipment

No training or medicals from BBC

Custom & practice to be regarded as self employed based on Radio Guidelines

Little or no control by end client

Wrote own scripts

Considered a theatrical artist

The BBC had sufficient control:

Had first call on Ms Ackroyd’s time.

She attended BBC training sessions

Could be told by the BBC who to interview. 

Had to obtain the BBC's consent to non-BBC engagements

ITV had control:

Mr Holmes could not undertake work that conflicted with ITV

Fixed fee paid for each show

ITV could provide a substitute if needed, but Mr Holmes could not

ITV provided travel and clothing

ITV had full discretion and control as to editorial content

Clothing allowance paid by End-Client no No Yes  Yes
Other points Remitted to UT by Court of Appeal as flawed decision   Appeal dismissed by UT  Appeal dismissed by UT


It is worth comparing the decisions in these cases with the 2023 decision in Gary Lineker & Danielle Bux t/a Gary Lineker Media v HMRC [2023] TC8774. The First Tier Tribunal found that while partnerships can be subject to the IR35 intermediaries legislation, they did not in this case as Mr Lineker had direct contracts with the Broadcasters he was engaged by. Whilst it could be argued that Gary Lineker is as much a brand in his own right as Lorraine Kelly, it would have been interesting to see how he would have fared had his services been provided through a company.

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