A split decision in the latest IR35 tribunal case to emerge has raised further questions over the application of Off-Payroll compliance practices within the NHS, and HMRC’s flawed interpretation of mutuality of obligation.

In the case of George Mantides Ltd (GML) v HMRC, tribunal Judge Charles Hellier concluded differing outcomes for two engagements undertaken by urologist George Mantides’ limited company for two different hospitals, ruling one inside (“IR35 applies”) and the other outside of IR35 (“IR35 does not apply”).

Commenting on the verdict, contracting authority ContractorCalculator’s CEO Dave Chaplin said:

This outcome is particularly good news for NHS locums impacted by the Off-Payroll reforms and locums across the UK will be optimistic that this case could prove a catalyst for fair and accurate assessments within the sector.

“Thousands of locums will be on contracts working in the same manner as Mr Mantides. Some of them in cases where IR35 applies, and some where it does not, as this case has highlighted.

“There have been reports of widespread blanket decisions within the NHS, and it is now clear that the leaked NHS webinar contains claims relating to IR35 status in the NHS which are woefully inaccurate, and which have now been dismissed by a Judge. If the NHS suffers loss due to contractors pressing ahead to litigate then it could be HMRC getting a knock on the door from the Trust for giving them careless tax advice.

“HMRC has got a partial win here, but perhaps only because the NHS Trust and agency were lazy in terms of how they chose to engage the contractor. This judgment actually serves as a blueprint for how locums can now be legitimately engaged on an outside IR35 basis.”