Dull, dull, dull...
...hasn't IR35 been done to death?
First off, I've been a permie (like 99% of contractors) and a contractor. There are well-documented pros and cons attached to both. Some people prefer 'permanent' employment, others prefer to be contractors. Some people prefer to do one at a certain life stage, and then switch to the other, again for personal reasons. Live and let live, surely?
IR35 is law. It's been debated, challenged, fought and generally done to death. There is no 'new news' to this story, just a headline-grabbing £99k tax bill.
The guy had no demonstrable right of substitution (as acid a test as it gets twixt permie and non-permie); was under the direct control of a client permie staff member; and had 'mutuality of obligation' (MOO).
He clearly fell within the remit of IR35. To try and claim otherwise based on the evidence available is a very, very high-risk strategy. Whoever advised him to take this stance is ill-informed imho. He should have weighed up the facts and coughed up the dough, simple as that.
Some contractors are 'caught' by IR35 and some are not. This guy clearly was, so why was he taking such a high-risk approach given the sums involved? Greed? Maybe. Bad advice? Maybe.
I agree with the sentiment that the AA should give him employee benefits though if HMRC are going to treat him as an employee.