Revenue lets orchestras play on

Orchestras have been saved from the threat of closure after HM Revenue and
Customs advised Gordon Brown that they do not have to pay £33m in unpaid
national insurance contributions.

This followed an investigation by HMRC into the tax liabilities of orchestras
employing freelance musicians.

Many orchestras are a collection of self-employed musicians and have not paid
national insurance on the income paid to them, as they would have had to for
permanent staff.

The decision not only averted the unpaid tax bill of £33m but an annual
future bill of £6m.

Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra, said:
‘That’s very good news. We didn’t have a figure of how much this could have cost
us. But it is money that would have been taken away from our artistic
activities, and it would also have seriously affected fundraising.’

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