Print

Usain Bolt joins the list of sportstars avoiding the UK's stringent tax rules.

The top international sprinter has decided to pull out of London's Diamond League meeting next month, blaming the UK’s strict tax regime.

Following HMRC's victory in a case against tennis player Andrew Agassi, our tax rules ensure that non-resident stars like Bolt are taxed not only earnings earned at events held in the UK, but also on a proportion of their personal endorsements throughout the year. 

The move has prompted Athletics UK to say that Britain needs to change its tax laws.

Atheletics UK’s annoyance is unsurprising as the law is not applied evenly: both the Football Champions League and the London 2012 Olympics have secured an exemption. However, as the rules only appear to deter a handful of sportstars, there was a full turn out at last weekend's British Grand Prix. Golfer Tiger Woods seem unconcerned about tax and is here to start the Open, but fellow golfer Sergio Garcia (who is also here for the Open) has avoided playing in other competitions in the UK for nearly ten years according to the PGA.

It seems that tax is not enough to prevent most top starts from competing in this country; if the event is prestigious enough. There may of course, be more to Bolt’s decision that just tax.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has already said that he will take up the issue and so we could so a review of the rules and exemptions.