Lorraine Kelly dodges £1.2m tax bill with bizarre legal loophole

Amy West
Contributor
Lorraine Kelly will not have to pay a £1.2m tax sum she was billed in 2016, as a judge rules her a “self-employed star”

Lorraine Kelly has avoided paying £1.2 million in tax, after a judge ruled she’s performing “the role of a friendly, chatty and fun personality” during her morning appearances on ITV rather than appearing as herself. 

The breakfast TV presenter was hit with the bill – which is reported to consist of nearly £900,000 in income tax and more than £300,000 in national insurance contributions – back in 2016, with HMRC suggesting that she was an ITV employee.

However, despite signing a contact to host Lorraine and Daybreak four years prior, Kelly insists she’s a freelancer.

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Heard by the first-tier tax tribunal, Judge Jennifer Dean sided with the Scottish host, concluding that Kelly is a “self-employed star” and the contract was “for services and not that of employer and employee.” She also voiced that Kelly did not receive staff benefits such as holiday and sick pay and because she could technically be described as a “theatrical artist,” was well within her rights to deduct agent fees from her tax sum. 

“We did not accept that Ms Kelly simply appeared as herself; we were satisfied that Ms Kelly presents a persona of herself,” Dean stated during the hearing.


“We should make clear we do not doubt that Ms Kelly is an entertaining lady, but the point is that for the time Ms Kelly is contracted to perform live on air she is public ‘Lorraine Kelly.’

“She may not like the guest she interviews, she may not like the food she eats, she may not like the film she viewed but that is where the performance lies.” 

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“Quite simply put, the programmes are entertaining, Ms Kelly is entertaining and the ‘DNA’ referred to is the personality, performance, the ‘Lorraine Kelly’ brand that is brought to the programmes.”

HMRC responded to the ruling, saying it was “disappointed” with the verdict and “will carefully consider the outcome of the tribunal before deciding whether to appeal.”