What is a Lorimer letter?

(3 minutes to read)

A Lorimer letter, or LP10 letter, is something that all contractors working within the broadcasting sector need to know about.

Here we take a look at what a Lorimer letter is and how it affects self-employed broadcast media professionals.

What is a Lorimer letter?

A Lorimer letter is essentially ‘proof’ from HMRC that a contractor is considered as being self-employed.

It was introduced following the 1993 Hall vs Lorimer case. Ian Lorimer was a self-employed TV technician working for numerous production companies on brief jobs.

However, tax inspector Brian Hall claimed that Lorimer wasn’t self-employed due to him using some of his client’s equipment, saying that this meant he failed one of the HMRC tests for self-employment. He also argued that it was the production company clients that were dictating when and where he would work.

Despite this, Lorimer won his case and it was ruled that he was in fact running a self-employed business.

What are the benefits of having a Lorimer letter?

Having a Lorimer letter means that you won’t need to worry about a client classing you as being employed and therefore taxing you the same as an employed worker.

Those who are familiar with the IR35 legislation will know only too well the confusion and issues that can come from a client being unsure of your employment status, so a Lorimer letter can help to provide assurance for both the hirer and the contractor.

There’s also the fact that a Lorimer letter can be taken with you from job to job, unlike IR35, which can have you falling under a different status with each client.

For more information on IR35, read our helpful guides: What is IR35? and IR35 and sole traders.

Can anyone apply for a Lorimer letter?

Lorimer letters are for those who are either working behind-camera or have a production-based role.

Examples of behind-camera roles in the media sector, as described by HMRC, include camera operators, producers, writers, directors, gaffers, carpenters, electricians and stage managers.

The GOV.UK website states that ‘the list of roles is not exhaustive. Where a role is not listed, or the criteria is not met a more detailed exercise is required to consider the case applying general status rules.’ All of this information can be found on GOV.UK or you can speak to your accountant for more help.

How do I get a Lorimer letter?

To apply for a Lorimer letter, you’ll need to request a questionnaire and an engagement history spreadsheet to fill out and return.

You can receive these by contacting the Film Production Unit at HMRC at:
a.filmproductionunitmailbox@hmrc.gov.uk or phone them on 0300 123 2326.

The questionnaire will ask for information such as your job title, NI number and your business set-up, and if you have your own work kit, you’ll need to list and value each of these items.

For the spreadsheet, you will need to list every job you’ve been hired for over the last 12 months.

Each Lorimer letter will last for one year so you’ll need to reapply every 12 months and you shouldn’t have to answer all questions as in-depth each time.

Hopefully this page has answered some of your questions, but if you have any further queries, our team of experts are available to help, so give us a call on 01442 795 100 or email sophie.lewis@dolanaccountancy.com.

You may also like to read

Why Dolan Accountancy?

Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brand SJD Accountancy. With over 25 years experience in the contracting marketing, Dolan Accountancy has the heritage, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £105 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours.
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With changes in Public Sector IR35 Legislation we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella.
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams.
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – The founder behind the multi award winning FreeAgent platform was one of Simon’s first clients, therefore it only seems fitting that we offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge.
  • Free Business Banking – We have decided to waive our commission so our clients can use Tide free of charge for the first year.
  • Unlimited IR35 Status Reviews – We will review all of your contracts for IR35 purposes and provide you with our professional opinion as to its status.
  • Free Registered and Director’s Service Office Address – Sometimes you just don’t want your home address on display at Companies House. When you sign up to our accountancy services, we will offer the use of our address as an alternative.
  • Your Business and Personal Taxation Needs – This includes Company Accounts, Director’s Personal Tax Return, VAT Returns, Payroll, Corporation Tax and Dividend advice, to name just a few.
  • Same day payments- We offer same day payments as standard providing funds are received into our account by 9am, for no additional fee.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795100 or email sophie.lewis@dolanaccountancy.com or jaime.thorpe@dolanaccountancy.com.