Usain Bolt Just Says No to UK's Taxes on Non-Resident Athletes

Athletes competing in the United Kingdom have their earnings on endorsement deals taxed by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the British tax collector. How did the London Games manage to attract some of the world’s best athletes anyway? With an exemption on that tax, of course. Thus Usain Bolt, who hadn’t competed in England for three years, appeared at the Olympics but says he’s not coming back until the tax laws are loosened. And he’s not the only one. Via The Telegraph:

In 2010 Bolt pulled out of the Aviva London Grand Prix because of his stance on UK tax, instead deciding to compete in Paris - for which he was paid $250,000.

His agent, Ricky Simms, said at the time that British tax law "has kept a lot of the big stars in other sports away from Britain".

Tennis star Rafa Nadal pulled out of this year's Aegon Championship at Queen's Club due to the UK's tax demands. He opted to compete in the Gerry Weber Open at Halle in Germany, where he received a reported £750,000.

"The truth is, in the UK you have a big regime for tax, it's not about the money for playing," Nadal said last year. "They [HMRC] take from the sponsors, from Babolat, from Nike and from my watches. This is very difficult. I am playing in the UK and losing money. I did a lot more for the last four years, but it is more and more difficult to play in the UK."

The British tax on non-resident athletes competing there has brought in about $100 million a year, with about $12 million of that coming from the endorsement tax that kept Nadal from preparing for Wimbledon in Britain itself and caused Bolt to re-iterate his boycott of competing in the country.

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  • Randian||

    This just can't be. Tony and the other liberals who advocate a global tax tell me that people don't respond to incentives in this way.

  • hk||

    Man they are funny.

  • Enough About Palin||

    There ought to be an Iron Law...

  • R C Dean||

    And there is! You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

  • Joe R.||

    They're all un-American.

  • Lyle||

    First signs of a global tax I'm moving to Mars.

  • ||

    "The truth is, in the UK you have a big regime for tax, it's not about the money for playing," Nadal said last year.

    Well, Rafa, since Rosol surprise knocked you out of Wimbledon in the second round, you didn't have to worry about that this year.

  • hk||

    He has 11 majors and dominates Federer. I think he'll do just fine.

    The US open is his bad surface though.

  • ||

    Sure, Rafa's one of the best, but that game was crazy. Rosol probably had the best day of tennis he will ever play in his entire life that day.

  • Ted S.||

    He's a scofflaw when it comes to the rules and only dominates Federer because a highly disproportionate number of their matches have been on clay.

  • Christina||

    But surely they have to pay their fair share for all that the British government has done to support them in their athletic pursuits. If it weren't for the government there would be no sports arenas to compete in. Imagine how impossible it would be for Usain Bolt to run 100 or 200 meters on a grassy field with portable bleachers. It can't be done!

    Also, roadz.

  • hk||

    Bolt is paying his fair share though, which is zero. :]

    Lol at Socialism.

  • hk||

    Also, chicken.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Make that fried chicken and you got yerself a deal

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Double Fried.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'm assuming the NFL is exempted as well, or at least cut a deal.

  • Drake||

    I was wondering the same thing. No way are they going to get teams to keep coming back, much less put a franchise there with this bullshit.

  • hk||

    I bet France has a similar problem soon. I can only imagine the type of revenue the Socialist party over there is trying to acquire.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You know your tax rates are screwed when people are fleeing France for England.

  • InlineSkate||

    Interested to see the clusterfuck that becomes.

  • ||

    Somebody has to pay for England's stupid welfarism.

    Cue 'Taxman' from The Beatles.

    Tony

  • ||

    What the hell? I was going to make a comment about "Tonyberals" but forget it.

    Good on the athletes. It's an opt-out clause I wish some of us had.

  • affenkopf||

    You can always leave the country and renounce your citizenship.

  • Rich||

    Or, if you simply stop paying, you'll be provided room and board in your own country and retain your citizenship.

    Weird, huh?

  • Archduke PantsFan||

    Or, if you simply stop paying, you'll be provided room and board in your own country and retain your citizenship.

    But you lose your freedom.
    So are you saying taxes are the price we pay for freedom?

  • Yuno Hoo||

    It's the only logical conclusion.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Don't forget the high probability of being violently raped.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    It's called extortion. Pay or else.

  • Hyperion||

    I think the US is the only country where that is an attractive option, since we are the only country that taxes our citizens even when they don't live here and take advantage of those roads and bridges.

  • Drake||

    They should have played "Taxman" in the closing ceremony. Written by the only Beetle who didn't flee the UK to avoid wealth confiscation.

  • Hyperion||

    This guy is also the greatest athlete ever, he said so himself. If Obama had a son, he would talk just like this guy.

  • Rich||

    If Obama had a son, someone else did that.

  • Johnimo||

    If a couple (Mr. Mrs. Obama) have a child were they cheating on each other? Somebody else did that?

  • Archduke PantsFan||

    I posted this in the morning links

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'm not clear as to why atheletes should be exempt from the taxes every other profession must pay.

  • Invisible Finger||

    reading comprehension FAIL.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Athletes earn inordinate (but justifiable) pay for one event.

    Tiger Woods would never skip the British Open for sure - and first prize is well over $1 million.

  • Xenocles||

    Tiger Woods is also chasing the all-time major wins lead. I don't think he'd skip the Open even if the Queen personally confiscated the entire purse.

  • Archduke PantsFan||

    IIRC, there exists a tax-loophole in Germany that allowed people who work evening or night shifts to get a reduction in their taxes.
    Professional Footballers (Soccer players) would use this because most of their games were in the evenings. They are no longer eligible.

  • Old Mexican||

    Thus Usain Bolt, who hadn’t competed in England for three years, appeared at the Olympics but says he’s not coming back until the tax laws are loosened.

    Mr. Bolt is nothing more than a greedy rich guy who was handed a lucky break by life yet doesn't want now to share his prosperity with others.

    Obama told me so.

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, and he couldn't run that fast if the government didn't make running tracks!
    See, he owes it to the government!

  • A Serious Man||

    If the British hadn't colonized Jamaica and imported slaves he'd wouldn't be where he is today! So he doubly owes the government.

  • Sevo||

    He should pay the government reparations!

  • Johnimo||

    But it was the British Navy, with urging from the Quaker Church, that ended the slave trade on the high seas.

  • Drake||

    Double reparations!

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    TRIPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY? FUCK YOU THAT'S WHY!

  • Romulus Augustus||

    At least he had the good taste to take off the top hat and take the monocle from his eye before the starter's gun.

  • Skip||

    Daily Kos should make him an honorary white Republican.

  • Xenocles||

    Half the Kostards probably call him an African-American by default.

  • Brutus||

    LOL...I remember a non-American black fellow winning a medal for something or other in the Winter Olympics and the announcer tied herself in knots over it then, too.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    In 2010 Bolt pulled out of the Aviva London Grand Prix because of his stance on UK tax, instead deciding to compete in Paris - for which he was paid $250,000.

    Fucking greedy, 1%-er, kulak bastard!

  • Libertarian||

    I had no idea runners got paid that much. Granted, he's not just any runner, but still...

  • anon||

    Wait, people find ways to avoid taxes that are targeted specifically at them?!

    Next up: Water is wet. News at 11.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    In Bolt's case he just outruns the taxes.

  • Drake||

    I get great satisfaction when athletes avoid New York, with it's city, state, and federal income taxes. Jeremy Lin is the most recent. LeBron James, Cliff Lee, and I wonder how many others have said no to New York because of taxes.

    Now they are telling a whole greedy country to fuck off. I love it.

  • NotSure||

    I assume that some liberals will give this guy an exemption from their sanctimonius outrage, being black and not making his money working for a corporation.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Is the IOC a corporation?

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