An IR35 case involving Larkstar Data Ltd has been re-referred to the General Commissioners. The first time that the General Commissioners heard this particular case, it actually ended with a win for the owner of the company, Alan Brill. When the case was heard by the High Court, the result was much different as the Court backed HMRC instead.
It is fairly unusual to see the High Court reverse the decision of the General Commissioners. This has led many people to believe that something was unusual about this IR35 case. Sir Donald Rattee said that not all of the evidence has properly been examined by the General Commissioners and that it was essential that they reconsider the case.
There were four main reasons why HMRC decided to appeal against the ruling originally made by the General Commissioners. Of these four reasons, all but one has been disregarded. In order to see the case reheard, only one of the reasons needed to stand.
John Brazier, of the Professional Contractors Group, said “This case illustrates why PCG’s advisers have historically always taken cases to the Special Commissioners rather than the Generals. The Generals are a lay tribunal, which increases the chances of this kind of error compared to hearings before the Specials, who are professionally qualified.”
When the case was originally heard, Brill chose to represent himself. He is expected to have a much more difficult road in front of him as his case heads back to the General Commissioners.