Lorraine Kelly wins £1.2million tax case with judge ruling her on-screen persona is a 'performance'

Lorraine Kelly

Lorraine Kelly is without doubt one of the most popular personalities on TV - beloved by millions of fans across the UK.

And now, the much-loved star has won a tax court case, with claims that her public persona is largely a performance.

Lorraine was handed a £900,000 tax bill, and a £300,000 national insurance claim from HMRC back in 2016, as they argued that she had wrongly claimed her agent's fees as tax deductible.

Normally, this deduction is allowed only for 'theatrical performers', such as actors, singers and dancers.

But Lorraine and her team successfully argued that, in actual fact, Lorraine herself is also a performer, presenting a 'persona of herself', and should therefore be considered exactly the same as all the other 'performers' in the entertainment industry.

HMRC also claimed that Lorraine was technically an employee of ITV, but the presenter and her lawyers argued back that she is self-employed (or a freelancer), as she choses the hours she does on her programme, what should be included in the show, and also receives no sick pay or pension from the company.

It was ruled that “The relationship between Ms Kelly and ITV was a contract for services and not that of employer and employee.”

Lorraine Kelly herself spoke out, saying that she played a "version" of herself on her ITV morning show.

And the judge agreed, ruling in her favour by saying she was a 'self-employed star'.

After granting her the win, Judge Jennifer Dean explained, “Ms Kelly presents a persona of herself; she presents herself as a brand, and that is the brand ITV sought when engaging her.

"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.

“All parts of the show are a performance, the act being to perform the role of a friendly, chatty and fun personality."

She went on, saying, "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."

Judge Jennifer Dean also claimed that the same things can also be said of other popular TV personalities, such as Ant and Dec and Richard and Judy.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.