BBC Stars facing tax bills

Former BBC presenter Christa Ackroyd is facing a tax bill of almost £420,000 after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) won a landmark battle, which could have wider implications for freelancers.

Ackroyd was one of a number of people employed by the BBC through personal service companies.

In his Budget last October, chancellor Philip Hammond indicated he was targeting ‘disguised employment’ within the private sector, which could net the government around £1 billion in unpaid taxes.

The potential loophole was initially identified by previous chancellor George Osborne in his 2016 Budget.

HMRC has become increasingly concerned that personal services companies, used by the likes of IT contractors, consultants and journalists, have become vehicles to avoid paying personal tax and national insurance.

It is believed that at least 100 past and current BBC presenters are being investigated for alleged tax avoidance through personal service companies. Fiona Bruce and Jeremy Paxman are among the BBC stars who have used these companies to cover their payments.

In its Ackroyd ruling, the tax tribunal in Leeds said that while this was not a test case, ‘we understand that the present appeal is one of a number of other appeals involving television presenters and personal service companies.’

The tribunal stressed that HMRC had ‘never suggested’ Ackroyd was a tax cheat or had acted dishonestly.

The BBC said the use of personal service companies was ‘entirely legitimate and common practice’ across the industry.

‘The BBC was not party to this case, and as was standard industry practice at the time the individual was engaged as a freelancer in 2001 and paid via their existing company,’ a BBC spokesperson said.

‘Until last year it was for individuals with service companies rather than those engaging them to determine their status for tax purposes. The use of personal service companies is entirely legitimate and common practice across the industry as it provides flexibility for both individuals and organisations.

‘An independent review conducted in 2012 found that there was no evidence that the BBC had attempted to avoid income tax or NIC by contracting in this way.’

Ackroyd presented Look North in Yorkshire from 2001 to 2013 and was paid through her personal service company Christa Ackroyd Media Ltd (CAM).

Arnie Schwarzenegger Donates $100K To Anti-Hate Group

He’ll be back! He sure is as Arnie S has just dipped his hand in his considerably large pockets and pulled out $100k for anti hate groups. Whether or not they spend this wisely or not, we’ll never know. Hopefully it won’t be wasted on an expensive CEO and their expenses!

Anyway here is the rest of the story…

“I have been horrified by the images of Nazis and white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and I was heartbroken that a domestic terrorist took an innocent life. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer, Lt. Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Bates.

While these so-called ‘white nationalists’ are lucky to live in a country that defends their right to voice their awful, incorrect, hateful opinions, the rest of us must use our voices and resources to condemn hate and teach tolerance at every opportunity.

My message to them is simple: you will not win. Our voices are louder and stronger. There is no white America – there is only the United States of America. You were not born with these hateful views – you can change, grow, and evolve, and I suggest you start immediately.

Today, I’m sending $100,000 to an anti-hate organization I’ve worked with for decades – the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after the great Nazi hunter who I was lucky to call a friend. I have spoken to its founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, and I know that my contribution can help advance the Center’s mission of expanding tolerance through education and fighting hate all over America – in the streets and online. My dream is that all of you will join me in helping your favorite anti-hate organizations in any way you can.

United, we are greater than the hatred we saw this weekend.”

American coffee shop only hires disabled

“Our wait time is no longer than any of our competitors,” Wright said. “They’ve all gotten really good at their jobs and step up if somebody else needs help.”

All the profits from the coffee shop go to Wright’s nonprofit, Able to Work USA. But she’s most proud of the bridges it’s built in the community.

A coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, employs 40 people with disabilities, as well as two managers who have degrees in special education.

Meet the owner of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Amy Wright.

Wright’s inspiration came from two of her four children — Beau and Bitty, who have Down syndrome.

When Wright and her husband discovered that nearly 70% of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities do not have jobs, they resolved to do something about it.

“It hit me like a lightning bolt: a coffee shop!” Wright told CNN. “I realized it would be the perfect environment for bringing people together. Seeing the staff taking orders, serving coffee — they’d realize how capable they are.”

Teachers Spreading Love in the Classroom

Teachers aroud the world ae trying to spread the love to their pupils. Here are four ways this has happened in the USA.

In the amount of time teachers have with kids, they’re expected to help their students learn and prepare them for the coming years. But many go the extra mile to make sure their students also feel welcomed, accepted and heard.

Some teachers have done this with inspiring songs. Others have used messages of support to fight back against the recent spate of hate crimes and hateful political rhetoric targeted at marginalized communities. Inspired by these acts, HuffPost Parents reached out to teachers (both former and current) across the country to learn what they’re doing or what they have done to help their students.

Here are 14 teachers on how they spread love in the classroom:

1. “When we see a kid being kind to others … or being a helper we give them a pom pom and they get to drop it in the warm and fuzzy jar.”

I’m a preschool teacher and myself and the other preschool teachers have created a “warm and fuzzy jar” and we talk about being kind with friends and with ourselves. When we see a kid being kind to others, being gentle with their bodies (walking inside, not hitting themselves, etc.), or being a helper we give them a pom pom and they get to drop it in the warm and fuzzy jar. When our jar is full we get to celebrate and the kids get to work together to choose what our goal will be (wear pajamas to school, extra outside time, making popcorn). As teachers we all were affected by this election, and it really lit a fire in us to make sure the children are as kind and accepting as can be.
― Krista Mashburn, a preschool teacher in Arcata, California

2. “We go around the circle and say a compliment to the person sitting on your left.”

I teach music to students ages 4 to 15 in a rural public school. Many of my students lack strong verbal communication skills, so we practice through songs and activities. One class opener my first- and second-grade students love is the “Compliment Circle.” It’s simple ― at the beginning of class, we go around the circle and say a compliment to the person sitting on your left. It’s amazing to see the tension melt off a 7-year-old’s face with a simple, “You’re nice to me in class,” or “I like your shoes.” To be seen and appreciated for their choices ― it’s so important for kids, but we can lose sight in the pressure of lesson planning, test scores and data.
― Camille Loomis, a public school teacher in Clarksdale, Mississippi

3. “[I got the class involved in] a fun activity while teaching teamwork and patience with the other person.”

During one activity, the students sat with their back to the white board and their classmates were able to surround them with messages. I didn’t place any stipulations on the messages and the students wrote very positive characteristics of that person or compliments, even with people they don’t necessarily get along with. Many students were anxious about sitting there without being able to see what was being written or by whom. In the end when the student turned around to read their board, many became emotional. One student said, “I’ve never felt more a part of a group, I didn’t know you guys even liked me.” This was definitely successful in giving students a confidence boost and spreading love to students that normally keep to themselves.

A second activity I used was a fun teamwork game called “Sole Mates.” Each student chose a partner and had to work together in any position they could come up with as long as their two shoe soles were together at all times. I then challenged them to race from one side of the room to the other. This was a fun activity while teaching teamwork and patience with the other person.
― Kristin Harris, ninth-grade history and humanities teacher in Phoenix

4. “As a man teaching a rigorous science (physics), I felt it was important to be emotionally expressive.”

It’s been a couple years since I taught full time. I have always believed learning requires emotion. The idea that your mind will become invested in a subject that you have no emotional connection to was always absurd to me. I used to spend the first five to 10 minutes of class just talking to the students. I used their thoughts to form the day’s theme, recurring joke or compelling problem to emotionally connect with content. I was reprimanded for not teaching content bell-to-bell, despite demonstrating the efficacy of my methods.

I taught high school, and I found it important to model “adult” behavior. As a man teaching a rigorous science (physics), I felt it was important to be emotionally expressive. I loved my students and told them so. I loved hard problems, good questions and clever solutions, so I would get excited and emote as visibly as possible. When kids appeared upset or distracted, I’d ask if they were OK, but respected boundaries if they didn’t want to talk to me. I let the students engage with my emotions as a model for being open about feelings. In short, I was openly human to my students, which let them know my expectation of them: Be yourself, it’s safe here, we’re all human.
― David Galatzer-Levy, who has taught many levels of education, though most of his work involved teaching 10th- to 12th-grade physics and mathematics in Fall River, Massachusetts

Ikea to sell rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees

Awesome news from Ikea regarding refugees!

Ikea is planning to sell a line of rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees in 2019, in an effort to provide jobs to people displaced by the civil war.

The move will create jobs for 200 refugees, most of them women, currently living in Jordan, according to CNN.

Ikea’s flat pack refugee shelter wins design of the year competition
Jesper Brodin, range and supply manager at Ikea, described the situation in Syria as “a major tragedy of our time” adding that Jordan has taken great responsibility in hosting people displaced by Syria’s civil war.

“We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute,” Mr Brodin told CNN.

The products will be sold locally and in other Middle Eastern countries with free trade agreements with Jordan.

More than 650,000 Syrians are registered as refugees in Jordan, according to the United Nations. Last year the Government of Jordan pledged to issue up to 200,000 works permits for Syrians to allow them to work legally alongside Jordanians.

This is not the first time Ikea has responded to the refugee crisis.

A flat-pack refugee shelter designed by Ikea, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was crowned design of the year in last year’s prestigious Beazley competition.

Thousands of flat-pack shelters, intended to last for around three years, were sent to humanitarian crisis points around the world as refugees faced freezing temperatures in Europe this winter.

Ikea’s latest initiative was reportedly already in development before President Donald Trump released his executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for a period of 90 days as well as temporarily halting the entire US refugee programme.