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Former Look North presenter facing £400k tax bill after losing HMRC appeal

Christa Ackroyd

Former BBC presenter Christa Ackroyd has lost her appeal against HM Revenue & Customs, making her liable for more than £400,000 in outstanding tax.

The former Look North presenter was looking to overturn a previous decision of a first tier tribunal in February 2018, which stated she had to pay nearly £420,000 in outstanding tax.

Ackroyd was employed through her company, Christa Ackroyd Media, to present Look North on BBC1 until her contract was terminated in 2013. HMRC claimed Ackroyd had effectively been an employee of the BBC, meaning her company should pay tax and national insurance. The broadcaster claimed she was a self-employed contractor.

Judge Jonathan Cannan had ruled in favour of HMRC and said: “In our view the most significant factors in the present case include the fact that the BBC could control what work Ms Ackroyd did pursuant to the hypothetical contract. It was a seven-year contract for what was effectively a full-time job.”

In the latest ruling, heard by the Upper Tribunal tax and chancery chamber, Mr Justice Mann and Judge Thomas Scott sided with the tribunal and dismissed Ackroyd’s appeal. IR35 is an anti-tax-avoidance rule that applies to all contractors and freelancers who don’t fall under HMRC’s definition of being self-employed.

It was first introduced in 2000 by Chancellor Gordon Brown to crack down on self-employed contractors who were paying themselves through dividends from their own limited companies.

Ackroyd joined the BBC in 2001 from Yorkshire Television, where she presented Calendar alongside Richard Whiteley.

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