A select committee investigating alleged tax avoidance will question BBC finance executives next week about some of its highly-paid, high-profile employees, The Guardian reports. More than 3,000 BBC staff are paid through arrangements that allow them to avoid individual income tax by setting up personal service companies which pay low rates of corporation tax instead. Committee chair Margaret Hodge said she had called the BBC “because we understand they have a huge number of people who are being paid through personal companies and we need to understand whether this is tax avoidance or a legitimate business practice.” The committee is mostly concerned with staff earning more than £100K a year and whether they are on-air talent. “I have got a very simple principle here: if you earn your wage on the back of the taxpayers, and they do in effect because they get their money from the license fee, you have a moral imperative to lead by example,” said Hodge. Thorny tax issues are all the rage these days in Britain. Last month, The Times reported that Revenue and Customs (the UK’s IRS) had 600 film schemes under inquiry as it believes “billions of pounds in tax revenue have been lost” as tax breaks sold to wealthy investors enable them to avoid or defer tax. The film industry has strongly denied the UK Film Tax Credit is being exploited with the BFI defending the scheme as “stable and legitimate.”
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