HMRC hits the bullseye with IR35 judgement on Sky Sports darts commentator Dave Clark
30 November 2021
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30 November 2021
Dave Clark stood down after 22 years as one of Sky Sports most respected darts commentators in 2020 because of the inevitable progression of Parkinson’s Disease. In a further blow to Mr Clark this year, HMRC won an appeal against a tax tribunal decision that his earnings from the whole of the period with Sky Sports was subject to IR35.
Nick Pilgrim MD of EEBS commented that “The tax liability will be potentially eye-watering, and one hopes that Sky will step in and do the right thing, but the tribunal reasoning is what we are considering here, rather than the implications of the tax bill. Following recent trends, the judge’s view was that Mr Clark was subject to Sky’s control, who paid him whether he worked or not. Interestingly, he was restricted from presenting for other companies and Sky had ‘first call’ on his services. They also had complete control over the production and editorial process. Even though Mr Clark could, in theory send a substitute to present on his behalf it was admitted in the tribunal that there was no realistic chance of this being accepted by Sky.
And lastly, Mr Clark was dependant on Sky as his sole paymaster for the exploitation of his talents, as without Sky Sports his services had no other outlet for financial reward. So, although the contract said one thing, HMRC were able to drive the proverbial coach and horses between the written terms and the reality of the day-to-day arrangements. So, at risk of repeating myself, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims on a pond… it’s probably duck.“
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