IR35 legal challenge -- funding campaign overview

What is happening?

The beginning of a funding campaign to potentially launch a legal challenge to the now-in-force reforms to IR35 in the public sector, known as the off-payroll rules.

The campaign is being run by contractor Mike Gibson, managing director of Ethical Consulting and Andrew Merritt-Morling, an entrepreneur.

If the pair can secure enough commitments to raise a sufficient amount of money to launch a challenge, they will proceed with the challenge. If there is not enough support, they will not.

What is the challenge about?

The first stage of the challenge is for a barrister to conduct a research exercise looking at the likely avenues for challenge, at a cost of approximately £7,500.

If this research indicates there is little likelihood of success, the campaign will return any “remaining money” to donors. If the research shows there is strong argument to be made, they will continue to raise funds and present the challenge.

At this stage, the campaign is briefing the barrister to determine which route will provide the best opportunity for success and for that reason, Gibson and Merritt-Morling are yet to determine the specific point of challenge.

How can I get involved?

If individuals who have already emailed their support to the duo could have sent £20 a month, then the campaign says it would already have a decent fighting fund.

But individuals are urged not to send any money at this stage. Rather, people should just email Gibson, stating whether they would be prepared to commit to a regular contribution.

If there is enough support by the end of June, the campaign will invite people to contribute £20 each month (or more if they can afford it), to help launch the legal challenge.

Will I get my money back?

As this is not an investment, except in that if successful it will overturn “an injustice,” you are unlikely to get your money back, Gibson says.  

However, enough pledges of financial support will result in the creation of a website, which will provide “absolute clarity” about how donors’ money is spent.

The campaign, which believes the off-payroll rules are unfair and must be addressed, says that if it does not attract enough support, “then so be it.” But if people do not support the campaign, then “they give up the right to complain.”

Gibson also says: “I will keep fighting against something I believe to be fundamentally wrong. I will keep tilting at those windmills because I believe my public sector clients deserve it.”

Monday 12th Jun 2017
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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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