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Not appropriate to use a checklist to determine employee status

The First-Tier Tax Tribunal has reminded us of the importance of looking at all the circumstances when determining whether individuals were self-employed contractors or employees. Simply going through a checklist, without looking at the whole picture is not enough. The drivers of a haulage company were paid a fixed amount per shift. They were provided with induction training, but little supervision thereafter. They were not guaranteed work and could refuse jobs, with a limited right to substitute another to do their shift. They had to meet certain competency and safety standards, and generally provided their own equipment, although used the company’s lorries. The tribunal held that they were employees, especially due to the degree of control exercised and the fact that the drivers were not in business on their own account. The tribunal reiterated that "an informed, considered, qualitative appreciation of the whole picture" was what was required and not simply a checklist approach.

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