Countless embarrassing tabloid headlines speculating over various methods of tax avoidance by big names like Jimmy Carr and singer Gary Barlow have annoyed people these last few months. So much so that the BBC is going to review the freelance status of many of the most famous faces and voices which broadcast for them. In particular, any freelance presenter who earned over £50,000 from the corporation in the last financial year. And all because the BBC realises public perceptions about the issue of tax avoidance isn’t doing them any favours.
There’s no more detail yet on the exact individuals who’ll be investigated but it’s sure to include a range of people from News and Current Affairs to Entertainment. The BBC says more than 800 freelancers - who are currently being paid via their own companies for a whole host of on-air appearances - will have their contracts reviewed by accountants Deloitte and the BBC auditors. It could mean that 131 freelancers may have to become staff when their contracts expire. That means earning an annual salary instead of a fee per appearance or series of appearances.
The BBC admitted in the report that its current policy for contracting staff was "inconsistent" and hoped the changes will be in place by the start of the new tax year in April 2013.