Eamonn Holmes has said he was forced to sell his Belfast home over a tax dispute, admitting he was left feeling “very bitter”.
The GB News presenter claimed he had been left with no other option than to sell up, saying he felt like HMRC had “taken away everything I ever worked for”.
Holmes, who was a long-time Friday and relief presenter at This Morning with wife Ruth Langsford until they were dropped in favour of Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary in December 2021, had lost two HMRC appeals over whether he was freelance or staff at ITV.
Tax officials have ruled that Holmes was staff, although he says he never got sick pay, holiday pay, or company shares.
Claiming that it cost him “hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees”, Holmes was ordered to pay 10 years of backdated national insurance and tax bills reported to be around £250,000 and says he had no choice but to sell his Belfast home to raise the cash.
Holmes told UTV (Northern Ireland’s ITV region): “I had a house here until six weeks ago when I was forced to sell it by the Inland Revenue (HMRC). It’s something I’m very bitter about because people think you earn lots of money and therefore you have to pay. It’s like they have taken away everything I ever worked for.
“People think it’s only the Eamonn Holmeses of this world that they’re after. But it’s not. The country is broken.”
The TV star has previously said that his tax row was “the most stressful experience outside of losing my father” and told The Mirror that he believed a severe case of shingles he suffered in 2018 was caused by the stress.
He said: “I was like a lamb to the slaughter – it was the most stressful, humiliating experience.”
Since leaving This Morning, Holmes has been vocal about how he feels he was treated by ITV, claiming: “They’re sly. They didn’t want to announce that I’d been dropped because it would adversely affect audience figures, so they made it look as if I’d walked away from them rather than the other way round.”
Holmes has been suffering further health woes over his chronic back pain and suffering a fall which made the problem worse, and has been using a wheelchair following spinal surgery.
He added in his UTV interview: “I have tried every treatment, but you go, ‘Maybe I’ll never get out of it,’ which is a harsh reality to face.”