It has come to light that the contractor at the centre of the Novasoft case actually found himself fighting HMRC over his employment status as he had volunteered his contract to them. Novak Brajkovic had taken advantage of Revenue and Customs’ contract service which actually led to them launching an investigation into his employment status.

Speaking to Contractor UK, IR35 firm Bauer & Cottrell reflected: “It all started because the contract was sent to HMRC for review which demonstrates that this customer service by HMRC can turn into a full blown IR35 investigation.”

The firm’s co-founder and former tax inspector, Kate Cottrell added: “[Nonetheless this is ] a very welcome win but it is shocking that the case has gone on so long”.

However, Cottrell stated that Brajkovic made the right decision when he dropped the advisors he had previously had on his side from the private sector.

She said: “He was no longer supported by previous advisers, and choosing to go on to represent himself at the tribunal effectively denied HMRC of the right to cross examine him. Control – What, Where, When and How” was the deciding factor for the tribunal, which heard what its judge categorised as a “borderline” case of IR35. As with all cases, it all boiled down to whose evidence the tribunal preferred on the day and the reality of the working practices,” the advisor said.

She concluded: “Despite HMRC having the end-client on-side, the reality was that Mr Brajkovic had different rights to employees, and he exercised them.”

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