Around 800 BBC presenters across radio and TV could be investigated by HMRC and the National Audit Office in relation to personal service companies linked to the BBC. HMRC recently accused the BBC of avoiding millions in national insurance contributions by hiring talent through PSCs. Around 300 of these presenters subsequently accused the BBC of forcing them to go down the route of being paid through special tax vehicles and consequently miss out on holidays, sick pat and pension contributions.
Things have accelerated following HMRC's landmark victory earlier in 2018 which resulted in more than 100 presenters at the BBC facing significant tax bills. The investigation is set to take a closer look at why the issue is only surfacing now for the first time, the extent of the use of PSCs and the relationship between the BCC and HMRC.
Tax experts have reiterated that while the use of PSCs in commonplace in many sectors, and can be perfectly legitimate, issues can arise when the lines between an individual freelancing and being employed become blurred. If the majority of a person's income comes from a single source, and most of their time working is spent under that same organisation's control, they are technically an employee.
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