GSK Status enquiry

A bitter pill is hard to swallow

HMRC has written to some 1,500 contractors working at UK pharma group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) during the 2018/19 tax year indicating that they may be regarded as “employed” for tax purposes. The recipients of these letters are required within a short period to either accept the HMRC position, or to provide contrary evidence.

HMRC has declined to provide any evidence of their own as to why so many people, doing varied jobs, under different terms and conditions, with the only common thread being their end client, have been targeted in this way. Given this fact, many GSK contractors will be struggling to know where to begin should they wish to respond.

It is unclear whether GSK and/or the intermediate agencies were aware of the HMRC campaign. Certainly HMRC has the power to require GSK to supply information. If this request had been made and complied with, did GSK pass that information on? If so, to whom? We don’t know but ultimately, it is to be hoped that GSK and the intermediaries will be able and willing to help to provide the evidence to prove or disprove HMRC’s so far unsupported claims.