Christa Ackroyd loses appeal against £419,000 tax bill

Former BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd has lost a legal appeal over a tax bill.

Christa Ackroyd

The 62-year-old broadcaster had her BBC contract terminated in 2013.

In July of that year, HM Revenue and Customers began an investigation into her tax arrangements during her stint at the BBC. She had been employed through a Personal Service Company Contract called Christa Ackroyd Media Ltd, through which her salary was paid. However, she was still herself contracted to the BBC.

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In 2018 it was confirmed at tribunal that Ackroyd owed income tax and National Insurance contributions totalling over £419,000. The judge in the case stressed that Ackroyd had been encouraged to sign the contract by the BBC, and the director-general of the BBC later told a House of Commons committee that the corporation took full responsibility for the use of the controversial contracts.

Ackroyd launched an appeal against the ruling, which was heard at the Upper Tribunal in London. Judges ruled in favour of HMRC, and found that she had been a BBC employee rather than a freelance contractor, thus upholding the decision of the original hearing.

A statement from HMRC said:-

“HMRC welcomes the judgement that the presenter is within the intermediary rules. HMRC has won the majority of tribunal decisions involving television presenters.

“Employment status is never a matter of choice; it is always dictated by the facts and when the wrong tax is being paid we put things right

“It is right that an individual who works through a company, but would have been an employee if they were taken on directly, pays broadly the same amount of tax and National Insurance contributions as employees.”

The BBC said they were not party to the appeal case but were reviewing details of the judgement.