BBC 'helped its biggest stars to dodge tax'
The BBC has been accused by MPs of helping thousands of employees -- including some of its biggest household names -- avoid paying tax.
In a scathing report, the Public Accounts Committee claims the broadcaster could be "complicit" in tax avoidance because it allows workers to be paid as if they were companies rather than individual staff.
The BBC has admitted for the first time paying 1,500 of its best-known television and radio stars this way.
The figure is far higher than the 300 the corporation had previously disclosed.
Declaring themselves shocked by their findings, the MPs said this "staggeringly inappropriate" way of paying its staff -- which means both the BBC and the employees can pay substantially less tax -- must come to an end.
Its findings raise the prospect of the broadcaster having to renegotiate its contracts with many of its highest-paid presenters or making its tax affairs public.
Reports have suggested that newsreaders Fiona Bruce, Joanne Gosling, Emily Maitlis, Gavin Esler, Sophie Raworth, as well as radio broadcaster Chris Evans and 'Newsnight' presenter Jeremy Paxman are paid in this fashion.
Mr Paxman has claimed that he had been told by the BBC to set up a company for his earnings or stop presenting 'Newsnight'. (© Daily Telegraph, London)