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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

Particular occupations: entertainers - NICs treatment (17 July 1998 to 5 April 2003)

SS (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations 1978 (SI 1978 No.1689) Regulation 1(2), paragraph 5A in Part I of Schedule 1, and paragraph 10 in Schedule 3

The NICs treatment of entertainers has been different from that which applies for tax. The DSS/Contributions Agency’s (CA) traditional view was that, generally, entertainers were employed under contracts of service and so liable to pay Class 1 NICs. However, they recognised that all cases had to be considered on their own facts.

As a result of the McCowen and West cases, the DSS/CA concluded that its treatment was no longer sustainable and that entertainers should generally be regarded as self-employed. This raised the question of refunds of wrongly paid Class 1 NICs for past periods.

As an interim measure, Ministers decided that they would introduce regulations which would treat the majority of entertainers as employed earners. The regulations, which came into effect on 17 July 1998, provide that entertainers who are not employed:

  • under a contract of service; or
  • in an office with emoluments chargeable to tax as employment income,

are treated as employed earners provided their remuneration consists wholly or mainly of salary (see ESM4146). If it does not, they retain their self-employed status.

Regulation 1(2) defines an entertainer as meaning

’a person who is employed as an actor, singer or musician, or in any similar performing capacity’.

However, a number of individuals and their engagers may seek refunds of Class 1 NICs on the basis that self-employment is the correct status for National Insurance purposes, and that past Class 1 NICs (up to 17 July 1998) were paid in error. Where you receive enquiries about this, you should refer them to:

Refunds Group
Room BP2001 (engagers) or BP1001 (individuals)
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ