Vale & West Chartered Accountants Blog

BBC Director General apologises to presenters who face huge tax bills

Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, has apologised to presenters who face big tax bills after being given no option other than setting up personal service companies (PSCs) if they wanted to keep their jobs.

A recent meeting of the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard that many BBC presenters had been “hounded for not paying tax” when they did not have a choice, as they had been told by the Corporation to set up a PSC or lose their career.

Chair of the PAC, Meg Hillier MP said that the fallout from this has caused a lot of “misery and hardship” for many people, including one presenter who had been forced to work while having cancer after being taken off a staff contract.

The Government introduced IR35 legislation to counter concerns that some people were using PSCs to avoid paying the correct amount of tax. However, in 2017, the Government transferred responsibility for determining the employment status of workers hired through PSCs to the public bodies hiring them.

According to the BBC, the employment status of 800 people changed and 300 people set up PSCs during this time. Last October, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said it had opened investigations into around 100 BBC-related PSCs.

Furthermore, the National Audit Office (NAO) said that some BBC News presenters were employed through PSCs between 2004 and 2012, and other radio and TV hosts with contracts of more than six months and/or £10,000 per year were employed that way from 2008 to 2012.

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