Friday, July 16, 2010

Forget LeBron, the U.K.'s Crazy Tax Laws Are Chasing Away the World's Fastest Man

The tax benefits of LeBron James' move to Miami have received a lot of attention, but there's an even more interesting case on the other side of the Atlantic. The tax laws in the United Kingdom are so punitive that Usain Bolt might actually lose money if he took a big check for competing in England next month. The story excerpted below reveals that many global superstars already avoid or minimize their appearance in Britain. Indeed, the top English soccer league is losing players to leagues in other nations for the same reason. The only silver lining to the story is that the U.K. government has decided to grant occasional exemptions for things like the 2012 Olympics. Wouldn't it be a better idea, though, to just get rid of the bad worldwide tax policy that is causing all the mess?

World and Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt may pull out of a major sprint meeting in London next month because of Britain’s severe tax rules for foreign sportsmen and women. Jamaican Bolt was expected to line up against fellow stars Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell at the Crystal Palace event but faces a situation whereby he may pay more in UK tax than he actually earns from appearing in the event. This situation stems from a House of Lords ruling against tennis star Andre Agassi in 2006, which allows HM Revenue and Customs to impose tax on a portion of foreign endorsement earnings relating to performance of the endorsement contract in the UK. Other sporting stars have already curtailed their appearances in the UK for the same reason, among them Spanish golf star Sergio Garcia, who now restricts his UK appearances to once per year in the British Open. There was some concern in sporting circles that the tax burden would mean that some of the world’s top stars may decide not to appear at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. HMRC has granted an exemption for this event and for next year’s Champions League Final to be held at Wembley, but refuses to grant individual exemptions. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mike Warburton, Tax Director at Grant Thornton, called the rule "stupid" and "damaging" to Britain's sporting reputation and its economy.

No comments:

Post a Comment