MPs heard at the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday that 148 of its 467 TV and radio presenters were paid through personal service companies (PSCs) firms rather than on the corporation’s payroll.
Wages paid through PSCs, which are legal, do not have income tax and national insurance contributions deducted at source, allowing tax dues to be reduced.
The PAC also heard claims from an unnamed presented that he was "bullied” into using a PSC arrangement for his pay.
The BBC's chief financial officer, Zarin Patel, said yesterday at the Committee hearing that due to high levels of public concern over the use of PSCs to employ some presenters, it would review whether this was appropriate for the broadcaster.
At least 41 BBC "off payroll" freelancers earning £100,000 or more last year did not pay tax at source, with five of these earning more than £150,000 per year, according to the corporation’s figures following a freedom of information request by Conservative MP David Mowat.
"With the amount of public concern expressed today, I think I have to say yes, we will review it, and we will review it with real seriousness," Patel told the House of Commons public accounts committee.
"But can I emphasise that none of this is designed to avoid tax. That is not why we use an extensive number of freelance contracts at the BBC."