Crowd Funded Legal challenge to IR35 – Update

Back in early July, we reported that Mike Gibson, a contractor who instigated a crowd-funded legal challenge to the Public sector reform of IR35, had exceeded his target of £10,500 in donations. At the time Mr. Gibson was about to instruct tax barrister Michael Paulin to begin research into possible grounds for challenging the IR35 reforms.

It now seems that this research is not going all Mr. Gibson’s way. Addressing campaign donors, Mr Gibson admitted that the chances of success look “increasingly dubious” as “every possible angle has already been looked into by many others”.

 Mr. Gibson is, it seems, undeterred. His legal research is to continue, using two independent legal opinions per potential point of challenge. His current aim is to find out if legal opinion has previously been sought on specific points. “I do not want to waste your donations pursuing a point of law if that point of law has already been considered,” he said. Should a suitable legal point emerge, a barrister will be put to work.

Since his own assessment of his chances, it is not surprising that Mr. Gibson is considering what he’ll do if his challenge should fail. “If it transpires that there is no legal route that stands a realistic chance of success, no problem – we simply move onto other options,” he says.

To this end, and having previously described the reform as “discriminatory and vindictive” he’s now asking fellow contractors to share their stories so he can show the public “the human impact of IR35”. He’s also urging contractors to contact their local MP with these accounts.

Though the challenge looks less hopeful than it did in July, many are still watching Mr. Gibson’s campaign with interest.

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