BBC presenters appealing against almost a million pounds in tax bills have claimed they were put on an “elegant form of zero hours contract,” a high court tribunal heard.
HMRC is claiming newsreaders Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Wilcox owe them £920,000. The presenters are just three of more than 100 BBC identities who are reported to be facing similar tax bills.
According to The Telegraph, Jonathan Peacock QC, representing the presenters, told the court the BBC “pushed” the broadcasters into setting up limited companies.
HMRC is arguing that in reality the three presenters were employees and not self-employed and therefore should have paid more tax.
The three presenters were contracted by the BBC for a minimum number of days per year and the broadcasting corporation had “first call” on their services. But they were able to work on other jobs.
The BBC suspended Gosling’s contract when she became pregnant and made it clear to her that the corporation would “decide if and when it would have her back”. Meanwhile, despite presenting from disaster zones, the BBC did not provide Willcox with any insurance.
This is the latest in a number of cases regarding the controversial IR35 legislation to appear before the employment tribunal this year. Earlier this year, the tribunal found that former BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd should have been classified as an employee, and that her company who had contracted with the BBC owed HMRC £420,000.
The case against the three BBC presenters was heard in May with a judgement expected in the coming months.