100 BBC stars face HMRC probe after taxman lands ‘self employed’ TV actor Robert Glenister with a £147,547 bill for ten years of National Insurance contributions

Top BBC stars face having to pay massive tax bills after Hustle actor Robert Glenister lost a case against the HMRC over his tax arrangements.

  • Acting star Robert Glenister worked through a personal services company
  • He lost a case against the HMRC over the level of National Insurance he pays
  • The HMRC claimed the actor should be treated as an employee for tax purposes
  • The actor criticised the ruling and said he considering lodging an appeal 

The actor lost a case against the HMRC over his tax status which has seen him liable for 10 years’ worth of National Insurance contributions of £147,547.

Mr Glenister, who is best known for the popular BBC series Hustle, worked through a personal services company for tax purposes.

According to court documents at the First Tier Tax Tribunal, Mr Glenister’s ruling is being viewed as a ‘test case’.

Actor Robert Glenister, pictured here on the set of Hustle in 2009 faces a bill of almost £150,000 to cover National Insurance contributions over a ten year period

The case, which was heard earlier this month, could see some of the BBC’s top stars faced with massive bills.

An earlier case revealed that 100 on-air stars are under investigation over the use of Personal Service Companies.

The actor told the Financial Times: ‘My case is one of a few hundred involving many of the UK’s most successful actors… It is yet another unfair cash grab that treats genuinely self-employed actors as employees contrary to government policy. This is not a tax avoidance case and we are considering an appeal.’

However, the HMRC said: ‘We are pleased that the tribunal agreed with our view. Employment status is never a matter of choice and is always dictated by the specific facts.’

As a result many BBC staff who are on self-employed contracts fear they will be left with less take home pay as a result of new tax rules.

Unions complain that the BBC are stopping the employer’s portion of National Insurance contributions from their pay.

In 2013 the BBC offered more than 100 freelancers staff contracts following a review by auditors Deloitte.

It was estimated that at the time more than 800 on-air people were using PSCs.