PCG Member settles with Revenue after four year IR35 battle

After more than four years, the IR35 enquiry relating to a Professional Contractors Group (PCG) member and former freelancer has been settled. Mark Sheerin, an IT consultant who lives in Edinburgh, was one of the first freelancers to face a challenge from Inland Revenue when IR35 was introduced.

Under investigation was a three-month assignment in 2000 for which Sheerin had submitted the contract paperwork to the Revenue for review. The contract was failed, and Sheerin began a long struggle to show the Revenue that his company was genuinely in business on its own account, as demonstrated by contractual terms and the reality of how the company operated.

Sheerin represented himself initially, before seeking professional help for which he paid until PCG agreed to fund his case. Three years' later, despite PCG backing and help from a firm of tax experts, Sheerin had become very frustrated and disillusioned about the lack of progress. In late 2003, his case was reassigned to Accountax Consulting, who adopted a more pro-active approach.

"We decided to apply for a transfer of jurisdiction from the General to the Special Commissioners," said Accountax specialist Dave Smith, "and in the end, a few days before the scheduled two-day court hearing, the Revenue wanted to settle. We were able to negotiate a settlement of just four hundred pounds to cover four years' alleged liability, without the need for a hearing."

Hearing the outcome, Mark Sheerin said, "I am just so relieved that it's over; the stress has taken its toll and had a significant effect on my personal life. I'm very grateful to PCG, whose directors have been very supportive of me, and to Dave Smith and Accountax for being extremely constructive, helpful and focused."

"This is a victory for common sense," said PCG chairman, Dr Simon Juden, "and we are satisfied that an expensive hearing has been avoided and Mark's long battle brought to a rightful end."

For further information: http://www.pcg.org.uk

Friday 28th May 2004