BBC stars are ‘livid’ at having to pay more tax after big names including Chris Evans put on PAYE

Presenters who face paying the top rate of income tax because the BBC reclassified some of its highest-paid stars have accused the broadcaster of unfair treatment.

The corporation has scrapped a payment system that channelled earnings through personal companies.

Instead, stars such as BBC top earner Chris Evans – who earns up to £2.25 million a year – as well as Jeremy Vine and Claudia Winkleman will now be classified as ordinary employees.

Chris Evans – pictured with Ray Winstone, the Duchess of Cornwall and Debbie Harry – will be reclassified under the new plans  

This means they will follow the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax plan like millions across Britain. 

That lands them paying the top rate and the BBC has cut some salaries because it is not forking out millions in National Insurance.

But ‘livid’ presenters have accused the broadcaster of ‘throwing them under a bus’, a source told The Times, with another claiming top stars are ‘having to fight to be treated with respect’. 

The changes follow official revenue tests last year, but a source accused the corporation of taking money from presenters ‘unfairly’ as the other told the paper that the changes had ’caused a great deal of unhappiness and anxiety’.  

Some of the affected presenters are reportedly trying to overturn the change – which mean a loss of millions for the exchequer. The BBC has begun reassessing.

There is no suggestion any of the presenters are trying to avoid tax or that any used personal companies to avoid paying tax that was due.

Claudia Winkleman is among the presenters who would be paid less due to the broadcaster forking out for National Insurance

Jeremy Vine is among the presenters who would be paid less due to the broadcaster forking out for National Insurance

Claudia Winkleman, left, and Jeremy Vine, right, are among the presenters who would be paid less due to the broadcaster forking out for National Insurance  

The broadcaster’s secret use of personal companies to pay £74million to 66 of its richest stars surfaced last week after an investigation by The Times. 

It allows workers to be taxed as though they are companies, which means they can avoid income tax at source of up to 45 per cent. 

Instead, it the method allows them to pay corporation tax at 19 per cent. 

The BBC had pledged the curb the method in 2012 and the broadcaster was ordered to respond to Freedom of Information requests about the matter after ignoring enquiries. 

The BBC has denied secrecy, adding the pay deals were reported to HMRC. It said its 2012 pledge only applied to presenters clearly displaying the characteristics of an employee. 

The corporation added the majority of the 66 cases remain assessed as self-employed.

The method is legal but HMRC is entitled to decide a worker being paid as a company is in fact an employee. If HMRC makes such a determination, it can seek back tax.  

Presenter John Inverdale is also affected by the change. He earns up to £250,000 a year, with Winkleman on up to £500,000 and Vine on up to £750,000.   

The changes are also affecting presenters who earn a lower salary, with former Look North host Christa Ackroyd being made to pay £419,151 in unpaid tax following reclassification. 

A BBC spokesman claims HMRC guidance ‘hasn’t worked for the media industry’, something HMRC denies.