Taxing International Athletes

A few weeks ago we saw some amazing tennis being played at Wimbledon, later on in the year we will see the rugby league world cup being held in England for the first time since the year 2000. These tournaments bring the best athletes in the world to our country to entertain the many fans that watch them. But are ad hoc tax exemptions for sports athletes coming to the U.K. to compete giving out the wrong message and turning them away?

Usain Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms labelled U.K. tax rules as “completely crazy”! This is because U.K. tax bills hugely outweigh athletes British earnings. He goes on to saying “It’s like me asking you to come to work today and pay me three times what you’re getting,” said Simms.

Usain Bolt keeping quiet on his next trip to Britain

Like most countries, the UK charges tax on appearance fees and prize money when non-resident athletes compete in Britain but, unlike many other countries, it also seeks to tax the athlete’s global endorsement income.

Based on the number of days spent competing in the UK, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs charges tax on a percentage of the athlete’s income earned elsewhere.

Bolt is not the only athlete complaining about the tax laws, Rafael Nadal feels it is becoming harder and harder to play in the U.K. as he actually loses money while playing here.

Are these rules going to drive top athletes away to competing in our country?

This article was compiled by Austen Barrowclough, marketing assistant at Balance Accountants.

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