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HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

Case Law: Davies v Braithwaite

1931 case – 18TC198

Point at issueMiss Braithwaite claimed that various contracts between her and theatrical producers were contracts of service. The Revenue contended that she was exercising her profession as an actress and was therefore correctly assessed under Case II of Schedule D.

FactsMiss Braithwaite was an actress. She was a British subject resident in the UK and was engaged under various separate contracts to play parts in stage plays, perform in films, make a record etc.

DecisionIt was held that Miss Braithwaite was exercising a profession and the profits were chargeable under Case II of Schedule D.

CommentaryIn 1922 “employments” had been taken out of Schedule D and put into Schedule E alongside “offices”. Rowlatt J. considered that “employments” were something like “offices” and likened them to “posts”. His view was that where a professional person does not contemplate obtaining a post and staying in it, but contemplates a series of engagements and moving from one to the other, then each engagement is a mere engagement in the exercise of the profession. He thought that Miss Braithwaite was not making a contract with a producer for a post but that each engagement was an incident in the conduct of her profession.

However, Rowlatt J. also stated that it was quite possible to have both an employment and a profession at the same time.

This case should be contrasted with Fall v Hitchen (see ESM7055).