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Tax Tip

HMRC is likely to be embarrassed by Moira Stuart.

February 2012

Moira Stuart, the BBC newsreader who has become the public face of HM Revenue & Customs, has set up a company that allows her to avoid the full impact of the 50p top tax rate.

The newsreader - who was responsible for fronting the 'tax doesn't have to be taxing campaign by HMRC - set up a business entitled 'Moira Stuart Limited' that would see earnings made by Stuart paid at a rate of 21 per cent as opposed to the 50 per cent tax rate faced by those earning over £100,000 a year.

Companies House filings reveal that Miss Stuart is the sole director and shareholder of Moira Stuart Limited, which was created in April 2010, a few days before Labour's 50 per cent top tax rate was introduced.

Service companies have a range of tax advantages and have become common amongst BBC presenters, footballers and other high earners in recent years.

As well as paying corporation tax rather than income tax, they allow people to write off office costs, clothing and a host of other good and services associated with their
work for tax purposes.

Meanwhile employers who pay people through a service company can avoid paying National Insurance on these workers.

The firm's accounts reveal that £22,607 was paid into the company in 2010/11. After £1,749 of administrative expenses was taken into account, Miss Stuart paid corporation tax on this income of £4,380.

Had these earnings been subject to income tax she would have incurred a bill of up to £11,303. She may also have been liable for National Insurance contributions.

The discovery of Stuart's tax affairs comes as part of an investigation by The Treasury into how many people working in the public sector are using this method of lowering their tax bill. While Stuart's conduct is entirely legal, due to her high-profile work with HMRC it is likely to cause considerable embarrassment for the department and raise questions over the efficacy of the 50 per cent band introduced by Labour in 2010.

If you need any help and advice with Corporate or Personal Tax returns, contact ABDS to discuss how we can help.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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