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Saturday, 8 October 2016

HMRC Investigates 100 BBC Stars Over Tax Avoidance

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is conducting investigations into the tax affairs of 100 BBC "stars".

They stand accused of falsely declaring themselves self-employed in an effort to minimise their tax and National Insurance contributions.

The revelation came to light when the BBC submitted evidence to a tax tribunal considering the cases of news presenters Tim Willcox and Joanna Gosling. The pair, who regularly front BBC news and current affairs programmes, are currently appealing an HMRC ruling that they did not pay enough tax. Despite their regular appearances, both are said to have denied being directly employed by the BBC on their tax returns.

HMRC investigators are considering whether "IR35" rules, which govern the rate of tax paid by those working through an intermediary, have been followed.

The BBC, in an effort to distance itself from scandal, has highlighted that personalities "employed" (or are they?) by other broadcasters are also subject to investigation.

An HMRC spokesperson said: "Employment status is never a matter of personal choice and is always dictated by the specific facts. When the employment relationship does not accurately reflect the underlying reality of the relationship, the wrong tax is paid then we intervene to ensure the rules apply as parliament intended.

"While there can be many legitimate business reasons for workers being employed through their own companies, there are rules in place enabling HMRC to make sure people who provide their services in this way pay the right tax and national insurance."

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