Scottish Daily Mail

Jeremy Vine made his girl, 10, a company director to help lower tax bill

- By Katherine Rushton Media and Technology Editor

IN a tongue-in-cheek guide to ‘tax accounting for the rich’, Jeremy Vine once advised the wealthy to find a ‘tax magician with the power to bend the rules, befuddle the tax inspector and make money invisible’. Now it seems that the BBC Radio 2 star has taken his own advice to heart.

Mr Vine appears to have been using his ten-year-old daughter Martha to avoid tax payments.

The presenter of the Jeremy Vine Show and the TV quiz Eggheads, has been funnelling cash through a limited company, Jelly Vine Production­s, of which she is a shareholde­r.

The controvers­ial move will highlight the BBC’s practice of paying some presenters off its books using money from the millions of pounds it earns in licence-fee-payers’ money.

In 2012, it emerged that more than 140 BBC stars were funnelling cash through private firms to avoid paying millions in tax. During the resulting furore, Mr Vine ran a spoof, ‘Jeremy’s six- step guide to tax avoidance for the rich’, on his radio show.

Jelly Vine Production­s had almost £810,000 in cash on its books in 2013 – the last accounts available, and £1million in 2012. If the funds had been paid to Mr Vine through the Pay As You Earn scheme used by most firms, it would have been taxed at 40 or 45 per cent. But by channellin­g them through a private firm, he can declare them as company profits, subject to corporatio­n tax of 23 or 24 per cent.

It is not clear whether these were earnings for Mr Vine’s BBC work or included other fees such as payments for speeches or book royalties. But by arranging his finances in this way, he ensured Jelly Vine Production­s could pay dividends to its shareholde­rs.

The firm is controlled by Mr Vine, who has 51 per cent of the shares. His wife, Rachel, has 30 per cent and the remaining 19 per cent is owned by Martha, one of their two daughters.

Richard Murphy, an accountant at Tax Research, said: ‘He is obviously using the company to reduce his tax bill. It is perfectly legal, and perfectly allowed. What is a little unusual is his daughter. Let’s be honest, she is unlikely to have said, “Daddy, I want to spend my pocket money on shares in the company”.’

Jelly Vine Production­s’ accounts do not disclose how much it has paid out or whether it has paid dividends to all three family members, or just Mr Vine himself.

Mr Murphy said Mr Vine could have named his daughter as a shareholde­r for ‘long-term tax-planning’ purposes, reducing the tax she would pay if she inherits part of the business. Alternativ­ely, Mr Vine may have made his wife and daughter shareholde­rs to split the dividend payouts, keeping them just small enough to ensure they are taxed at a lower rate, rather than at 40 or 45 per cent.

A spokesman for the presenter said the reason for making his daughter a shareholde­r was ‘private’ but ‘perfectly legal’, adding: ‘I don’t think it is cynical. What Jeremy is doing is very com- mon. If the Government makes laws that allow people to do things that are advantageo­us, it is up to the Government to change the laws.’

BBC contracts stipulate that presenters must pay the taxes they owe, and tells HMRC who it has paid each year. A spokesman said it would not comment on Mr Vine’s arrangemen­ts, adding: ‘It is the responsibi­lity of selfemploy­ed individual­s to ensure they are paying the correct amount of tax.’

‘I don’t think it is cynical’

 ??  ?? Shareholde­rs’ meeting: Jeremy Vine with daughter Martha
Shareholde­rs’ meeting: Jeremy Vine with daughter Martha

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom