In the United Kingdom the Inland Revenue has traditionally allowed tax relief for agents fees up to 17.5% of annual income for actors, musicians, singers, dancersand theatrical performers. But the Revenue argued that relief did not extend to television presenters who did not fall into any of the categories allowed. Channel 4 husband and wife presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan claimed this was wrong and the Special Commissioner agreed with them as he felt that they were theatrical performers. However the decision has left a rather large grey area over vwho is and who isn’t an entertainer – Chris Tarrant, presenter of Who Wants To be A Millionaire is said to be ‘borderline’ as he merely reads out questions and gives answers – perhaps he is not ‘entertaining enough’ – whereas Anne Robinson, acerbic presenter of the Weakest Link is ‘theatrical’ (and so can claim relief’) as can Jeremy Paxman when presentingUniversity Challenge. However the extent of the relief on the cost of agents for those not named as ‘actors, musicians, singers, dancers and theatrical performers’ in an employed situation (which could include DJs and sportsmen and women) is still unclear.
The Times June 10 th 2006