The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by Revenue in a case that centred on the employment relationship between a pizza firm and its delivery drivers.
In 2018, the Tax Appeals Commissioner (TAC) found that drivers working for Karshan (Midlands) Ltd, trading as Domino’s Pizza, were employees, rather than independent contractors, for taxation purposes.
The High Court upheld the TAC finding, but the Court of Appeal later overturned the decision, ruling that the TAC had erred in determining that the drivers were employees. Revenue then appealed to the Supreme Court.
Delivering judgment, Mr Justice Brian Murray (pictured) said that the commissioner was entitled to conclude that the drivers were employees of Karshan for the purposes of the relevant provisions of tax legislation.
“The evidence disclosed close control by Karshan over the drivers when at work, and while there were some features of their activities that were consistent with their being independent contractors engaged in business on their own account, the commissioner was entitled to conclude that the preponderance of the evidence pointed to the drivers carrying on Karshan’s business rather than their own.” the judge stated.
He added that the TAC was also entitled to conclude that that the drivers were obliged to attend for work when they agreed to be rostered.
Karshan had contended that an ongoing reciprocal commitment, extending into the future, to provide and perform work on the part of the employer and worker, respectively, was a sine qua non of a contract of employment.
The court decided, however, that such an ongoing commitment was not a necessary requirement for an employment relationship.