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MPâs and the BBC tax arrangements 04/10/12

The cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was "shocked" to discover that there are up to 25,000 off-payroll contracts, under which individuals must make their own tax and national insurance payments, provided by the BBC.

These include 13,000 people who appear on television and radio - so-called on-air "talent" - and another 12,000 off-air staff. Some 3,000 are paid via private companies, potentially allowing them to limit their tax liabilities.

Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP and PAC chair, warned that the use of off-payroll arrangements gave rise to "suspicions of complicity in tax avoidance".

The BBC insisted that the figure is far fewer than the stated number and was limited to individuals who were occasional contributors to programmes.

The Treasury disclosed in May, after conducting its own review of the practice in Whitehall, that more than 2,400 staff, each earning more than £58,200 a year, were being paid directly and without PAYE deductions. But the PAC warned that the Treasury's review of off-payroll arrangements had been "limited" because it did not cover the wider public sector like local government, the NHS or the BBC.

A Treasury spokeswoman said: "The Government acted quickly earlier this year to tighten the rules on off-payroll appointments in central government departments. The BBC is wholly independent and local government pay is not controlled by central government. However, the Government has raised this issue with both the BBC and the LGA and we look forward to seeing the results of the BBC's own review, which is now under way. We will study the PAC's report and respond formally in due course."

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