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  1. ITV Report

Spooks actor Robert Glenister slams 'secret police' as he faces £150K tax bill

Robert Glenister says he will have to either sell or remortgage his house. Credit: PA

Actor Robert Glenister has said he will have to sell or remortgage his house after losing a battle with the taxman over national insurance demands.

Lawyers representing a company operated by Glenister, 59, to provide “services to clients” complained about an HM Revenue and Customs demand for national insurance contributions.

Tax officials said arrangements entered into between Big Bad Wolff Ltd, Glenister – who starred in the BBC hits Hustle and Spooks – and clients made Big Bad Wolff liable for national insurance contributions.

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The actor said he is facing a bill of £147,000 plus interest and told the Mail on Sunday: “I have got two options – either I sell my house or I remortgage my house.

“I don’t want to sell it because I am 60 next year and the only other alternative is to have a significant mortgage hanging around my neck until I am well into my 70s.”

He also criticised HMRC, telling the paper: “It acts like an anonymous secret police force… They treat you like a criminal. I don’t think you can do that in a civilised society.”

Robert Glenister has criticised HMRC. Credit: Ian West/PA

Glenister said it was unfair for the taxman to backdate payments until 2004 when the revenue did not contact him until 2010.

In 2017, a judge ruled against Big Bad Wolff after a tribunal hearing, and the company has now lost an appeal.

Two appeal judges, Mr Justice Henry Carr and Judge Jonathan Richards, dismissed Big Bad Wolff’s challenge in a written ruling published after a tribunal hearing in London in March.

'A co-ordinated attack'

Bosses at show business union Equity say performers are being unfairly pursued for National Insurance contributions.

The union says they fear the taxman is conducting a “co-ordinated attack”.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) say decisions are “dictated by the facts”.

“We are gravely concerned that HMRC is conducting a co-ordinated attack against our members,” said Equity general secretary Christine Payne.

“Instead of being celebrated for their contribution to the local culture and global reputation of the UK, these self-employed professionals are being pursued for National Insurance contributions, including paying for employers’ secondary contributions.”

She added: “Whilst HMRC has accepted that this is not an issue of income tax avoidance, they nonetheless now stand ready to unleash their tax officials on our members.”

HMRCBosses at HMRC said they welcomed the Glenister decision.

“The rules on employment status are the same for everyone,” said an HMRC spokesman.

“It is never a matter of choice.”

He added: “It is always dictated by the facts and when the wrong tax is being paid we put things right.”