Umm, no Boris

Nice idea but wholly wrong.

Now let us imagine that each of these players had won the £1.1 million prize money and dutifully carried it home for the inspection of the local taxman in his own country. It is a stunning fact that Britain’s Andy Murray would have faced a more vicious fiscal clobbering than virtually anyone else at Wimbledon.

Spain had three players in the last 16, including Rafael Nadal. In spite of his country’s enormous budgetary problems, Rafa would have paid less than Andy – 47 per cent; and the Spanish got rid of their patrimonio, or wealth tax, two years ago. Moving down the tax rates, we come next to Australia’s Bernard Tomic, who faced a bill of 45 per cent. The three French players were going to be hit for 40 per cent tax – mais oui. We used to think of France as a much higher tax economy than our own, where people were bled white to pay for their trains to go at tres grande vitesse; now their top rate is fully 10 points lower than our own. The American Mardy Fish and the Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro were facing bills of only 35 per cent.

For, you see, foreigners doin\’ sportin\’ stuff in the UK pay UK tax in the UK:

Foreign athletes and entertainers performing in the UK are subject to UK tax on tournament prize winnings, appearance fees, and other sports-related income earned in the UK. They are also taxed on the UK proportion of their worldwide endorsement income.

4 thoughts on “Umm, no Boris”

  1. Although the French levy plenty of taxes, income taxes were never the stinger – because, in part, they don’t operate a PAYE system. They favour social security, VAT and wealth taxes.

  2. View from the Solent

    Um, from your source, Tim:
    “organisers of the 2011 Champions League Final to be held at London’s Wembley Stadium and the 2012 Summer Olympics had been able to secure UK tax exemptions for foreign athletes competing in those events ”

    Now, I wonder why that is?

  3. I do recall a story a little while back about some sportsmen refusing to compete in the UK as long as the current tax regime applies.

    The thing is, everyone taxes money earned in their own country, but as far as I’m aware only the UK and the US tax people on a proportion of their global sponsorship income.

    So if a golfer plays 4 tournaments in a year, and one of them is in the UK, then we seek to tax a quarter of their sponsorship money, as well as whatever they won in the tournament. For some people, this would mean being taxed more than they actually earn in the UK.

    A couple of people that I think said they’d not come in without some changes are Sergio García and Usain Bolt

    The Olympics exemptions are a little less generous than they appear, though. Apparently, athletes won’t be taxed on income from the games, and they won’t be taxed on promotional income related to any of the official Olympic sponsors, but any other promotional stuff that they do will see them pay tax (see

  4. Hang about, Boris is quite right.

    He was merely comparing the top rate of income tax in players’ home countries, for sure, there is basic rate tax deducted at source in the UK, but that is given as a credit in the other country so can be ignored from player’s point of view (and Boris was right to ignore it – even if he overlooked it rather than consciously ignored it).

    As to the UK taxing non-UK earnings of foreign players, forget it, it doesn’t happen in practice.

    @ H, how do the French collect ‘social security’ (aka tax on employment income) if they don’t have PAYE?

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