The ferocious interviewer is said to have founded his firm Out In The Dark Ltd a month after Labour introduced the 50p rate of tax.

A large number of the BBC’s staff are aledged to have founded ‘service companies’ around that time so that in the eyes of the tax man they are listed as freelancers, according to The Daily Mail – a paper who have never been shy voicing their opinions about the BBC.

Radio stars Fearne Cotton and Chris Moyles employed a similar tactic, as did Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce also set up a company, Paradox Productions.

According to tax accountants a presenter earning £1m a year could avoid around £100,000 of tax by working freelance instead of as an employee of the BBC.

“The BBC should be transparent about the salaries it pays and it is not acceptable to hide that by paying someone as a freelancer. These are salaries in all but name.” said shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.

A spokesman for the BBC said “Some individuals working as freelancers in broadcasting, and a range of other sectors, like IT, set up service companies which deal with their tax arrangements and this is perfectly lawful.”

Main image: Jeremy Paxman with Sir Phillip Green (Getty)