BBC to be quizzed on employees who minimise tax


BBC executives will today be quizzed over the "multitude of different ways" their employees, including presenters, pay less tax.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to take evidence from BBC chiefs over what one committee source said was a "big issue". The witnesses called will include the BBC's chief financial officer Zarin Patel and head of employment tax, David Smith.

"The BBC appears to have a multitude of different ways they ensure people pay less tax. Either they use a service company or pay them on freelance contracts or pay them through personal companies, or they pay them goodness knows how," the source said.

The Committee will not yet look at tax-avoidance schemes. "We're coming back to that in the autumn," the source said.

The PAC is chaired by Margaret Hodge and includes the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Chloe Smith, Stewart Jackson and Ian Swales.

The hearing into off-payroll public-sector pay arrangements was scheduled following the publication of a report into the practice, overseen by Danny Alexander the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in May.

This followed the report's findings that 2,400 senior public officials earning £58,200 a year were paying the lower level of corporation tax rather than higher rate tax because they were paid as off-payroll consultants.

Mr Alexander said at the time: "It's clear that off-payroll engagement without sufficient transparency has been endemic in the public sector for too many years." It did not include the BBC or local authorities.

A Freedom of Information request to the BBC revealed that 36 employees earning more than £100,000 were paid through personal service companies, with a total of 300 employees paid in the same way.

The off-payroll format is not illegal, but the source said: "Nobody should be avoiding tax. If your income comes from taxpayers' contributions, you have a moral imperative to ensure you are paid in a way that meets tax liabilities. You should lead by example."

But a BBC spokeswoman said last night that using service companies meant staff could be "flexible" in how they worked. She added: "They are not used as a way to avoid paying National Insurance employer contributions which are paid by the service company as required.

"In its contracts the BBC also stipulates that individuals must pay the appropriate amount of tax and we provide HMRC with a detailed annual report of all payments made to such companies."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk