Ascendant Fox Films. Bart Ruspoli, Hester Ruoff.

A warning for any freelancers working for (or intending to work for) a company called Ascendant Fox Films.

This company has recently employed a number of freelancers on terms which look to be in contravention of HMRC’s guidance on taxation of junior workers (including Runners).

As most employers in the industry know, HMRC are clear that there is only a limited number of grades of workers which can legitimately be treated as self employed and be responsible for their own tax and NI. These are only workers with higher levels of responsibility and the ability to control their own time and work etc (guidance to which HMRC also lays out here).

Ascendant Fox Films (Bart Ruspoli, Hester Ruoff) seem not to be following these rules with respect to junior staff on their production “Gassed Up“. When asked about this, Ruspoli claims that, as the workers involved have signed a contract that declared that the worker will be responsible for their own Tax and NI, that that then absolves the company of responsibility of having to do so.

It does not, however, work like that of course as (obviously) employers can’t draw up contracts which might suit themselves financially but might break tax laws. The company then promised to make further checks (presumably with HMRC) but then stopped responding when asked the outcome.

If you are currently employed by this company in this way and you think you might be being taxed incorrectly you would be very wise to contact your tax office and report the situation. Your rights to some benefits are contingent upon having a good NI record and may well be affected if companies like this don’t do things properly, as well as potentially causing all kinds of other grief (eg unnecessarily having to fill in a tax return every year) as a result.