Journalist in tax row tells of ‘pretty unforgiving’ life as BBC correspondent

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A journalist embroiled in a tax dispute has told a tribunal about the “pretty unforgiving” life of a BBC staff correspondent.

Broadcaster David Eades told two judges how he had decided to take redundancy after spending seven weeks covering the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

He said it was the point he decided that the job was “not sustainable”.

Judges heard how he returned to work for the BBC eight months after his staff job ended under a freelance arrangement.

Mr Eades said he was paid via a “private service company” he set up when he returned.

He said BBC bosses told him that setting up the company was the “route to take”.

Mr Eades, Joanna Gosling and Tim Willcox are challenging income tax and national insurance demands made by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officials at a specialist tribunal hearing in London.

The three journalists say they set up personal service companies through which they provided services as presenters or reporters to BBC news programmes.

HMRC officials say they were effectively BBC employees.

The broadcasters say that is “not so”.

Mr Eades, who said he had started work on the Grimsby Telegraph newspaper, told judges that he had been employed by the BBC between 1987 and 2003.

He said he had been a correspondent and had worked mostly abroad.

Mr Eades described his involvement in the coverage of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Paris in 1997, and the 2002 World Cup.

“When the news happens, it happens,” Mr Eades told the tribunal.

“That’s your job, you go.

“It’s a pretty unforgiving scenario, very exciting in many ways, but that is the way we operate.”

Mr Eades said after Diana died he was “in Paris for eight days”.

He said he was gone for seven weeks when covering the 2002 World Cup.

“Seven weeks is a long time,” he said.

“That was the point at which I recognised it was unsustainable.”

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