Bond Pearce as it takes up cause of Professional Contractors Group against the revenue

The appeal by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) against the IR35 legislation has been set down for 19 November and will include a host of European points of law.

IR35 treats most contractors as employees for tax purposes, even though they do not qualify for pensions, paid holidays and other staff benefits.
At a judicial review of the Inland Revenue's decision to introduce the IR35 tax rules, Mr Justice Burton rejected PCG's attempt to restrain the implementation of the controversial IR35 legislation on the basis that he did not accept its European points of law.
Paradoxically, PCG's lawyers said last week that similar points will be the crux of its argument at the three or four-day appeal hearing. It is alleged that IR35 imposes tax burdens on about 14,000 small businesses.
PCG's lawyers say that, while its submissions have not included an application for referral of the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), it nevertheless remains as one of a range of possibilities.
Suggestions last week that it would go to the ECJ prior to the Court of Appeal were later doused. The Court of Appeal has the power to refer the case to the ECJ.
Assistant solicitor Stephen Lister, who took on the case for PCG when he recently joined Bond Pearce from Nabarro Nathanson, referred to the European points that will be raised at appeal.
“They relate to state aid, freedom of movement, freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services,” said Lister. “There is also the issue of proportionality under these heads. For example, if the Court of Appeal finds that there have been potential breaches of these various articles, could the Government say the legislation is proportionate in the circumstances?”
Head of litigation at Bond Pearce Tony Askham leads the team and is instructing Gerald Barling QC and Kelyn Bacon, both of Brick Court Chambers.
The Inland Revenue, contesting PCG's claims, is instructing Richard Plender QC of 20 Essex Street and Rabinder Singh of Matrix Chambers.
PCG continues to lobby Parliament to try to improve the IR35 legislation outside the courts and advise businesses linked to PCG.