HMRC investigating over 100 BBC presenters for using possible tax avoidance strategies
HMRC are investigating more than 100 BBC presenters for using “personal service companies” which may have reduced their tax bills.
The use of personal service companies allows employees to receive their income through companies rather than being paid directly which can in effect significantly lower their tax payments and the national insurance contributions of their employers.
During a recent hearing for the tier tax tribunal it was revealed that HMRC had opened inquiries into more than 100 BBC employees.
Confirmation was given when the BBC submitted evidence to the tribunal which said " there are around 100 additional cases under consideration involving current or former BBC presenters”.
Two presenters who are subject to the investigation are Tim Willcox, who presents on the BBC News and BBC World channels, and documentary presenter Joanna Gosling. Both are reportedly appealing against a decision by HMRC that they did not pay enough tax while appearing on the BBC and using personal service companies to receive income.
Some BBC presenters, including Jeremy Paxman, have claimed that the corporation instructed them to set up personal service companies.
A BBC spokesman said that it was an “industry-wide issue” and pointed out that the tribunal related to “tax issues between 2006 and early 2013 and not the present day”.
HMRC has been targeting the strategy for years now but has ramped up its efforts to clamp down on the use following George Osborne's £12 billion clampdown on tax avoidance and evasion which he announced in his budget speech last March.