Lorraine Kelly avoids tax bill as she performs as a Lorraine Kelly "persona"

Sam Warner
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Lorraine Kelly has avoided having to pay a massive tax bill after a judge ruled she played the role of a "friendly, chatty and fun personality".

The Lorraine host received a £1.2 million tax and national insurance bill in 2016 from HMRC, which claimed that she was an employee of ITV and subject to income tax and national insurance.

However, she appealed it, arguing that she was a freelancer, and a judge has now ruled that Kelly is a "self-employed star" and her relationship with ITV "was a contract for services and not that of employer and employee".

Photo credit: ITV

Judge Jennifer Dean also ruled that the presenter was a "theatrical artist", meaning payments to agents would be a tax-deductible expense.

"We did not accept that Ms Kelly simply appeared as herself – we were satisfied that Ms Kelly presents a persona of herself, she presents herself as a brand and that is the brand ITV sought when engaging her," Dean said.

The ruling added that it was all a "performance", with the act being "to perform the role of a friendly, chatty and fun personality".

Photo credit: Getty Images

"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," it continues.

"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."

Photo credit: ITV

HMRC said in response that it was "disappointed" with the ruling, adding: "We will carefully consider the outcome of the tribunal before deciding whether to appeal."

Kelly has presented Lorraine since 2010, and before that was a staple of shows such as GMTV and Daybreak.

Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter account.

('You Might Also Like',)