Actors: IR35 tax rules will probably apply.

17th October 2017


In a recent tax tribunal test case, relating to the well-known actor Robert Glenister, HMRC were challenged as to whether the IR35 intermediary tax rules should apply to an actor earning his living through a personal service company.


As is typical with individuals providing their personal services through an intermediary company, Mr Glenister had set up his company with alphabet shares, jointly owned with his wife. This was presumably to facilitate tax efficient profit extraction, by use of both spouses’ tax allowances and the avoidance of NIC through payment mainly as dividends. HMRC initially ruled that IR35 should apply, so Mr Glenister took the case to appeal.


The appeal considered 3 technical points, all of which the tribunal dismissed. Although not referred to explicitly in this case, due to this actor’s personal celebrity status, there was presumably absolutely no right of substitution within the relevant contracts with the end clients, so it is perhaps not at all surprising that IR35 applied. Actors considering trading as a limited company should be aware of this tax case. Although it will adversely influence how they extract their ‘pay’ from the company, it will not necessarily stop them structuring their affairs through a personal service company. Due to the feast and famine nature of their income streams, having control over which month of the year salary is extracted, relative to 5th April, does give them the ability to optimise tax allowances and tax bands over 2, rather than 1, tax year.

Other items in Arts & Entertainment
Whitings LLP
10th December 2022 Christmas ‘gifts’ from the taxman

Businesses may be hoping they can hold their annual Christmas parties this month. Providing the event is annual, open to all employees and the total cost, including VAT, is less than £150 per person (including non employee guest attendees), this will be a non-taxable benefit in kind (ie free of PAYE tax and National Insurance…

Ian Piper
10th December 2021 COVID: business interruption insurance claims?

Those businesses with comprehensive commercial insurance cover will possibly be covered for ‘business interruption’. This cover will typically include losses arising from events that close or severely disrupt operations. The COVID pandemic has already led to many claims under this. The insurance industry (as you might expect?) has warned that few policies are likely to…

Ian Piper
4th November 2021 Super early retirement? – Not if under 47 now

The government is to increase the earliest age pension savers can access their pension pots from 55 to 57, wef 6 April 2028. Members of the firefighters, police and armed forces public service schemes will not be affected by this increase.

Chris Ridgeon
1st November 2021 Budget: Hospitality Sector

Well, mixed news in the Budget for our hospitality sector, I would say.   A cut in business rates by 50% for qualifying businesses in retail, hospitality, and the leisure sector for a further year will hopefully help with that large overhead. No extension of the temporary reduced rate of VAT beyond 1 April 2022…

Emily Haines
15th March 2021 SEISS for the newly self-employed in 2019/20

HMRC are writing to some individuals who started their sole trade/self-employment in 2019/20 and wish to claim the fourth and fifth self-employment income support scheme grant (SEISS). These individuals will be asked to complete some verification checks to confirm their identity and proof of their self-employment.   These individuals should receive a letter from 8th…

Mike Blackledge
26th November 2020 SEISS 3rd Grant– Guidance issued on how trading conditions affect eligibility

To be eligible to claim for the third Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant you must either:   be trading and impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus, or have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.   To help businesses understand whether they are eligible for the 3rd SEISS…