There’s not much scarier than the words ‘tax investigation’ – and Eamonn Holmes knows that better than most.
The TV presenter has revealed he’s in the midst of a legal battle with HMRC and has even taken them to court over demands he pay seven years of back taxes – back taxes that could total £2million.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Eamonn said: “I am the test case. If they win against me they will go after everyone else, everyone. Ant and Dec will be next.”
The This Morning host currently pays tax at 19 per cent as a freelancer with his own limited company. Officials are now challenging this, demanding he pay income tax up to 45 per cent.
The 58-year-old, who is married to fellow presenter Ruth Langsford, continued: “They can come after seven years of the difference. The country is broke and they are coming to get us. I was in court in Central London for a week in June. I’ve been freelance for 28 years and that’s been okay. Now they’ve said it’s not okay.”
Tax experts told the paper the TV star could face a bill of £2 million, thanks to a doubling of his tax bill, plus interest, National Insurance payments and possible penalties.
Accounts from April last year show his and Ruth’s limited company, Red White and Green Ltd, had just under £3.1 million in cash. Eamonn has now been waiting 17 weeks to hear the results of the case.
Eamonn continued: “They have reinvented the rules in the past couple of years. There is nobody more freelance than me, but they are trying to prove our jobs are regular and guaranteed. But they could go at any moment. It has cost me a lot of money to fight it and trust me, in that court room there were a lot of them against me.”
An HMRC spokesman told The Mail on Sunday: “It is clear that most TV presenters will fall into the category of being employees based on the nature of their work, and the policy that sets this out has been the same for years.
“HMRC has a responsibility to ensure everyone pays the right amount of tax at the right time.”
In fact, Eamonn only recently spoke out about how unstable his work can be.
Speaking on last week’s This Morning – 30 Unforgettable Years, which aired as part of the show’s 30th birthday celebrations, he revealed he’d been made redundant from a previous job.
He quipped: “So what does this show mean to me? It lost me my job! I was made redundant because this show was so successful.
“We were on a show called Open Air and it had the airwaves to itself on daytime TV. Then This Morning came along a year later and we lasted another year and then that was it because This Morning was so successful.
“And the thing that this show does and has done all that time, it informs, it educates and it entertains. It’s actually great fun. There is nothing like this on TV.”
This Morning was honoured for its “outstanding” contribution to television with BAFTA’s Special Award at a tribute event.
This must be a very stressful time for Eamonn. Let’s hope the case is resolved soon.
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