Lorraine Kelly has avoided a £1.2 million tax bill after a judge ruled she "presents a persona of herself" on screen.

Lorraine Kelly

Lorraine Kelly

The 59-year-old TV presenter - who fronts ITV show 'Lorraine' - won the case after a judge said she was a "self-employed star" rather than employed by the broadcaster.

In 2016, Lorraine received the income tax and national insurance bill from the tax office relating to a contract she signed with ITV in 2012.

While HMRC claimed she was an ITV employee, she argued she was a freelancer and appealed against the bill of almost £900,000 in income tax, and a more than £300,000 in national insurance contributions.

Judge Jennifer Dean concluded that the relationship between Lorraine and the broadcaster "was a contract for services and not that of employer and employee", and the tribunal noted she doesn't receive staff benefits like holiday or sick pay, while she has the freedom to take on other work.

The judge ruled that she can be classed as a "theatrical artist", meaning payments to an agent can be counted as a tax-deductible expense.

She added: "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.

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

"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."

Judge Dean also concluded that there is a difference between the real Lorraine, and the public persona presented on TV.

She said: "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."

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