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A number of BBC stars including ‘Newsnight Rottweiler’ Jeremy Paxman are furious that the corporation – which they say forced them to set up personal service companies (PSC) in order to get paid – has painted them as tax dodgers.
Paxman has confessed that Beeb bosses told him that if he didn’t set up a PSC he would be at risk of losing his Newsnight role.
One presenter described the atmosphere at the broadcaster as like a ‘near-riot’, as those instructed to set up PSCs to be paid said they were being portrayed as if they did it to save money, the Daily Mail reports.
The BBC has stressed that none of its ‘faces’ are using the deals, which have the potential to reduce tax bills, to avoid paying tax.
HMRC meanwhile, is adamant that it did not give its approval for the deals despite Paxman’s suggestions he had been told to do this by the BBC in a letter to The Times newspaper in March.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for details of the BBC’s relationship with HMRC to be made public.
Presenters who spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity said many had been forced off staff contracts and on to the PSCs. One presenter described how ‘we are being completely hung out to dry by the BBC’ and believed the situation was ‘going to be very ugly’.
The spat kicked off after the Common’s Public Accounts Committee raised concerns about the way some BBC staff received payment through these companies.
The BBC’s chief financial director, Zarin Patel, said the organisation would be reviewing its tax arrangements.
Patel has rebuffed suggestions that the BBC was ‘avoiding national insurance contributions’ and stressed the organisation did not have ‘anything to hide’.Get the latest news in your inbox. Sign up to receive the Accountancy Live e-newsletter, HERE