Uber’s worker rights ruling “did not implicate tax status,” HMRC confirms


Uber’s worker rights decision “concerned eligibility for certain rights as a worker and did not implicate the tax status of taxi drivers,” according to HMRC.

The news comes as worried Uber drivers feared they had lost their eligibility for upcoming Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants and wondered if they might even have to REFUND subsidies already claimed as a result of their recent victory over workers’ rights at the Supreme Court. .

In a landmark court ruling last month, Uber drivers won basic workers’ rights, including minimum wages and paid time off, prompting some private drivers to worry about their self-employment status past and present.

HMRC, however, confirmed that the ruling did not relate to tax status and that it was “unlikely” to have an impact on the eligibility of private drivers on the Uber platform.

According to an HMRC spokesperson speaking directly to TaxiPoint: “The Uber case concerned eligibility for certain rights as a worker and did not involve the tax status of taxi drivers.

“As it was not about tax status, the case is unlikely to have a direct impact on the tax eligibility or SEISS of taxi drivers.

“HMRC cannot comment on the tax affairs of individual taxpayers.”

HMRC added, “If a person has already applied for one (or more) of the first three SEISS grants – and meets the eligibility criteria at the time they applied – then they can keep the grant (s). This regardless of whether their employment status changes retrospectively for these periods. “

HMRC sources also detailed the eligibility criteria for the forthcoming fourth SEISS grant. A self-employed worker must meet all the eligibility criteria detailed below:

  • You must be self-employed or a member of a partnership

  • Your trading profits must not be greater than £ 50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income for the 2019 to 2020 tax year

  • If you are not eligible based on your 2019 to 2020 tax return, we will also be looking at the 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 as well as 2019 to 2020 tax years.

  • You must have traded in the two tax years – 2019 to 2020 (and submitted your tax return by March 2, 2021) and 2020 to 2021

  • You must either trade currently but be affected by reduced demand due to the coronavirus, or have traded but are temporarily unable to do so due to the coronavirus

  • You must also state that you intend to continue trading and that you reasonably believe that there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced trading activity, capacity, demand or an inability to negotiate due to the coronavirus.

If an applicant’s service contract has been replaced by an employment contract, this may affect their eligibility for the fourth and fifth SEISS scholarships if:

  • the change means they have gone out of business for good

  • in the relevant tax years (2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020) their trading profits were not at least equal to their non-trading income.

Finally, HMRC added, “It is up to the applicant to determine if they meet SEISS’s eligibility criteria. Whether they are self-employed for tax purposes will depend on the terms of their employment contract. “

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