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IR35 investigation on BBC presenters

100 BBC Presenters Face IR35 Investigation

Over 100 high profile members of staff from the BBC have been identified from a list of 469 media professionals reportedly under review by the taxman in relation to the status of their personal service companies (PSCs).


The latest figures came to light during last week’s tribunal ruling on a case involving BBC News presenters Tim Willcox and Joanna Gosling. The duo are currently appealing against a previous judgement on their IR35 status in which HMRC requested that they pay additional tax and National Insurance Contributions due to a so called ‘violation of IR35 rules’.


IR35 investigations into the working status of the BBC presenters arose from a BBC commissioned internal review ran by Deloitte in 2012. The aim of the review was to assist tax compliance, however those that were prioritised by the accountancy firm as ‘due for a status assessment’ became subject to an official review by HMRC that exposed some of the PSCs to “have characteristics of employment”.


The broadcasters’ application to the First-Tier Tribunal, held for matters relating to Willcox and Gosling’s defence stated, that:

“The appeals are extremely important not only to the individuals in question but also to the BBC and to the broadcasting industry as a whole.”

“The appeals are likely to be the first cases to test the freelance model in the broadcasting industry against the IR35 legislation.”


In a later BBC statement they went on to say that this was an “industry-wide issue” that “affects those who have been engaged in this way for a number of different organisations”.


This latest development highlights how important it is that contractors understand IR35, the possible implications of an IR35 investigation and that they take the necessary steps to protect their independent status. If you are due to start a new contract and need an IR35 contract review to check and strengthen your independent status, please contact Contracting Scout.