Parade Park Hotel and Another v HMRC; P May v HMRC Sp C [2007] SSCD 430 (Sp C 599)

This case concerns the employment status of a worker, who carried out maintenance work for a hotel. He charged for the work initially on quotation and then at a daily rate. He would carry out checks at the hotel, identifying work that needed to be done and could pick and choose which work he undertook. He would pick and choose the days that he worked but would often not turn up, suiting himself as to days that he worked. He accepted that when he did not turn up, he would not get paid and often there were periods where there was no work, during which he worked for other clients. The hotel owner accepted that the worker could hire an assistant and/or send in a substitute. The worker provided his own tools but the hotel provided materials, as it was cheaper for them to do so as they could recover the VAT. HMRC issued PAYE determinations, contending that the worker was an employee and that PAYE should have been deducted.

It was held that the worker was self-employed. There as no mutuality of obligations: the hotel was not obliged to offer work and the worker could choose the work that he did. If the work was sub-standard, he was expected to put it right. The hotel had no control over the way in what work was to be done, the way in which it was carried out or the worker’s hours.