Keith Richards: “We left England because we’d be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out.”

Keith Richards talks tax policy with Rolling Stone:

The Stones are famously tax-averse. I broach the subject with Keith in Camp X-Ray, as he calls his backstage lair. There is incense in the air and Ronnie Wood drifts in and out--it is, in other words, a perfect venue for such a discussion. "The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says Keith, Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all.”

(Via Josh Blackman)

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  • Kramer||

    so basically The Stones are just like Google and Buffett, except for the hypocrisy thing.

  • Mike M.||

    Not to mention "TurboTax" Tim Geithner, and numerous liberal douchebags working on Capitol Hill.

  • robc||

    As more and more businesses become location-independent, this is going to happen more and more.

    Rock stars and scandinavian tennis stars just happened to be amongst the first to be able to make it happen.

  • Virginia||


    Wyoming, anyone?

    The state of Wyoming does not levy a personal or corporate income tax. Wyoming does not impose a tax on intangible assets such as bank accounts, stocks, or bonds, either. In addition, Wyoming does not assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state. Further, there is no legislative plan to implement any of these types of taxes.

  • gruffbear||

  • ||

    Yeah, but you have to contend with the whole living in Wyoming thing.

  • ||

    Once you get past the whole, finding a mate thing, Wyoming is pretty fucking awesome. Unless, of course, you are a terminal preppie.

  • ||

    And if you can not find a mate, Wyoming has lots of sheep.

  • ChrisO||

    Probably helps to have a singer who attended the London School of Economics. Somehow, I doubt Keef sits around pondering the tax laws.

  • ||

    He was only there for a year. Considering how obsessed he must have been with music, you have to wonder how much studying he did.

  • Almanian||

    Nah, it helps to be mega rich and pay smart people to figger all this out FOR you.

  • ChrisO||

    Which is exactly why so many rock stars are broke and their managers are fabulously wealthy.

  • Mike Tyson||


  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Yeah, during his one year at LSE, Mick was balls deep in text books... That's about as plausible as "There is incense in the air" during the interview...

  • Mick Jagger||

    Oy was up to me ya-ya's in the text books!

  • ||

    Does the UK really have a 98% tax bracket?

  • stuartl||

    I thought it was only 95%.

    My source is the Beatles: "There's one for you, / Nineteen for me, / 'Cause I'm the taxman."

  • stuartl||

    By "was" I mean in the late 60s.

  • ||

    Why is Canada better than the U.S.? I thought they had higher taxes.

  • ||

    It might be an issue of avoiding spending too many days in the US. Tax residency status in the US is based on a bright-line # of days test.

  • ||

    Canada's highest income tax bracket is only 29% which is lower than the US. I believe it kicks in at a lower income though.

    Where Canada bites you is with Provincial income taxes plus the GST and Provincial sales taxes.

    Canada is much kinder about income received from foreign sources, though. IIANM you are taxed only on income earned while resident of Canada. Canada does not try to collect income tax on it citizens who are living outside the country. But then, the US is one of the few countries in the world that does.

  • ||

    Quite correct Mr. Bartram.

    My marginal income tax rate in Ontario is 46.4%, on all income above approximately $130k. The combined federal/provincial sales tax rate is 13% on nearly all purchases. This means I have to earn $210.86 of gross income, in order to purchase $100 of actual after-tax goods or services.

    And yes, Canada only taxes its residents (not its citizens). So I'm presently looking for a job in a nice, warm, tax-haven country.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...Canada only taxes its residents (not its citizens)...

    Huh? Did you mean "Canada only taxes residents who earn their livings in Canada, but not citizens who earn their livings abroad"?

  • Wesley||

    Canada's corporate income tax is much lower than the US, and I believe their capital gains taxes are, too. I don't know, but would imagine that matters to the Stones as much as the personal income tax.

  • ||

    Capital gains in Canada are taxed at 50% of your marginal tax rate, regardless of the holding period of the asset.

    More simply, you add up all your capital gains, subtract any applicable capital losses, and include one-half of any positive remainder in your taxable income for that year.

    If the remainder is negative, you can carry forward the losses to offset future year's capital gains.

  • ||

    If you are in Alberta, there is no Provincial sales tax. Overall, Alberta has one of the lowest-taxed populations in North America. The Fraser Institute ranks it #2 in economic freedom out of all states and provinces. Maybe the Stones hang out in Calgary.

  • Sugar Ray Bradbury||

    "We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all.”

    Something the Left never seems to grasp. Thank you, Keith.

  • BakedPenguin||

    IIRC, at one point, they would have had to pay over 100% of their income.

    The same thing happened to Ingmar Bergman when his films became internationally popular. And he responded in the same way: he got the hell out of Sweden.

  • ||

    Nice picture.

  • ||

    I don't think the Rolling Stones ever tried to get the United States Government to guarantee their stream of revenue; they're definitely not like Kindly Old Grandpa Buffett.

  • ||

    Shouldn't it be "...we'd be paying 98 pence on the pound..."?

  • ||

    Don't be a quid.

  • Ballpunch||

    A sterling quid, at that.

  • Ted S.||

    Technically not, since they left before decimalization. So the they would have been paying 19/7 on the pound.

  • ||

    The Beatles created Apple Records in NYC specifically to get away from limey taxation.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The only thing less relevant than Rolling Stone is the Rolling Stones.

  • Zeb||

    Relevant to what?

  • ||

    Opinions vary Mr. Akston.

  • ||

    Keith Richards has just guaranteed that the Rolling Stones will always be more relevant than Rolling Stone.

  • ||

    And yet idiotic Washingtonians think that somehow all our software billionaires will stick around if we pass a state income tax. I have heard from more than 1 person already planning their move to Texas.

  • Spoonman.||

    The City of Austin fully supports a Washington state income tax.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    No we don't. We are full here. Go away.

  • TX Limey||


    Fix your own goddamn states and stop moving here.

  • zoltan||


  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    God, first the Californians migrate to Washington (and Arizona and Nevada and Colorado) and screw that state up, now they're planning on doing the same thing to Texas.

    Perhaps there's a way for Texas to make Austin and the college towns into independant city-states so their policies don't infect the rest of that fine land.

  • LarryA||

    Well, except for College Station.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Oh, there's plenty to quarantine there.

  • Jennifer||

    Nobody ever figures out that the only people rich enough to pay the super-exorbitant tax rates are the same people rich enough to leave.

  • ||

    I thought Apple Records was based in London.

  • ||

    I was under the impression (unfortunately, this impression came from Albert Goldman, so maybe I should have been more skeptical) that they were avoiding UK taxation. The wikipedia articles on Apple are unclear as to where the headquarters were, but they had a footprint in both the US and the UK.

  • ||

    Next, an article praising the strength and virility of the U.S. economy/job market based on interviews with thousands of Mexicans caught slipping across the southen border illegally.

  • LarryA||

    Compared to Mexico, they'll be right.

  • ||

    Yee--aah!!! Tell em, Keith!

    So keep that in mind next time one of those durned Amerkin Librul Demcrats propose an income tax rate of 98% (or 90% or 80% or 70% or 60% or even 50%)...

    ... but, ah, don't hold your breath for too long.

  • The Point||

    Way to miss me, douche.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Fuck off, Danny.

  • ||

    I want to read this book. I never read rock biographies. But the interviews I read seem to show Keith to be a really smart interesting guy.

    I think of Richards being a bit like Satan. Like Satan, he is absolutely physically hideous. But, he is wildly charismatic at the same time. If ever hung out with Keith Richards, I have no doubt he could talk me into doing any number of wildly immoral and irresponsible things. "Oh Johnny don't worry about your wife and job, just get on the plane, we are going to go do some blow and under age hookers in Brazil". And I would get on the plane, happily.

  • ||

    John, I find your fantastical willingness to blow some underage hookers in brazil to be disturbing.

    and a bit exhilirating!

  • ||

    Hey, that sounds pretty good. When are we leaving?

  • Chupacabra||

    Great idea for the next Reason staff/reader event.

  • ||

    Will Steve Smith be there?

  • ||

    Gawd I sure hope so!

  • ChrisO||

    Actually, I'd be mightily impressed if you could understand a word Keith says. I know I can't.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Look out Keith, the lefty blogosphere's gonna give you the full Mankiw treatment!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I wonder exactly when a room infused with incense-stank and Ronnie Wood's flitting presence became the "perfect venue" to discuss tax policy.


    Clearly, Keith is a right wing extremist. Is that where all the foreign campaign money is coming from?

  • Kramer||

    I'm not sure I trust the numbers quoted in this article. It says Mick will be 60 next year. Was it written in 2002? It also says it's from Fortune not Rolling Stone. But other than that...

  • Duke J. Biden of Yorkelware||

    My dear boy Richards, you are simply not being patriotic and loyal enough to her majesty the queen. The aristocracy enacts high taxes for the good of you who are cheap and common.

  • Hi-Tax Barax||

    Strike Richards from the White House guest list.


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