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Usain Bolt, you’re famous, taxes are for the little people, not you!

What? What the hell?  George, do you think you can arbitrarily choose who pays taxes and who doesn’t?

Well you can of course, because you have all the guns and powers of coercion backed up by the threat of violence and kidnappping, but aren’t you even pretending any more?

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/olympic-games-taxes-dropped-lure-bolt-london-event-090330987.html

If surgeons and oncologists and engineers and programmers and a host of people who actually do useful things have to pay their taxes, then surely so do runners.

But wait, this is because you’ve engineered the system to tax people regardless of where they earn money; they have to pay you tribute right?  But if you exempt runners, don’t you have to exempt entertainers and footballers and half a dozen others categories of people each spending slightly more and more time in the UK.  Doesn’t this arbitrary measure show the whole system is a nonsense?

Well yea.

Yes, you argue that they are only exempt from overseas earnings and appearance money is taxed at normal rates, (and no-one can possibly guess what percentage of the fee will be appearance money and what will be foreign sponsorship of course!) but if Usain can have this exemption, I want it, otherwise we are not all equal before the law.  and if we are not equal before the law then it’s not ******* law it’s just government by arbitrary preference and favour and any legitimacy you claim is lost.


And of course it is a tacit admission that high taxes like George’s drive people away be they runners or investors and employers.

22 Comments

  1. Sam Duncan says:

    Meanwhile Starbucks and Amazon get boycotted for not paying what the mob considers to be enough.

    Hey, instead of all this arguing, I have an idea. Why don’t we have a system for assessing what people owe, according to a set of rules that applies to everybody? It’s just a thought, but you never know… it might catch on.

  2. Lynne says:

    Don’t be silly, Sam. That is far too sensible a thing to do.

    As for Usain Balk Bolt, let him choke on his running shoes.

  3. Mr Ed says:

    Here I believe that there may be a quirk that means that footballers do not face UK tax on their earnings as they are not paid prize money for coming to the UK, e.g. if Benfica come to London to play Arsenal, there is no payment associated, they are just paid their normal salary back in Portugal. But a runner, tennis player or racing driver may get prize money paid for their attendance and/or winning, and with that, the current rules say that their overseas earnings get apportioned for their appearance in the UK, e.g. 20 F1 races, 1/20th of your sponsorship gets taxed by HM Treasury.

    Of course, if Mr Bolt does not show, nor will any spectators, which would make the whole Olympics look like a silly waste of money (and vile thieving of private land), which would not be part of the ‘message’.

    Is anyone boycotting Starbucks and/or Amazon? I can’t say that I have noticed. Lefties are often lying hypocrites, let’s wait for Q1 2013 figures.

  4. RAB says:

    That’s a bloody expensive 9.7 seconds we’re paying for there!

    A lefty friend of mine was having a rant and a rave about Tesco on Farcebook a while back. And where did I next bump into him doing his shopping?

  5. Clarissa says:

    My understanding of the bit of tax law involved is that sportsmen and women who come here to compete not only have to pay UK tax on any money winnings/fees generated whilst in the UK but also a percentage of their worldwide earnings (e.g sponsorship) based on how many competitions/matches they participate in.

    For someone like Bolt, who competes only a few times a year, his tax liability for competing in the UK could be greater than 100% of money earned and is widely acknowledged to be why (aside from the Olympics) he hasn’t raced in the UK since he became a big earner.

    Oh, and by the way, You can thank Brown for that piece of tax law.

  6. Clarissa says:

    My understanding of the bit of tax law involved is that sportsmen and women who come here to compete not only have to pay UK tax on any money winnings/fees generated whilst in the UK but also a percentage of their worldwide earnings (e.g sponsorship) based on how many competitions/matches they participate in annually.

    For someone like Bolt, who competes only a few times a year, his tax liability for competing in the UK could be greater than 100% of money earned and is widely acknowledged to be why (aside from the Olympics) he hasn’t raced in the UK since he became a big earner.

    Oh, and by the way, You can thank Brown for that piece of tax law.

  7. John Galt says:

    For myself, I’m quite pleased with Mr. Bolt’s stance on this. He is pointing out far better than anyone else has done the implications of HMRC’s Agassi ruling. As a non-UK resident he is perfectly entitled to opt-out of his payments to HMRC by not coming here unless specific exemption is granted.

    Since any world athletics meeting without Usain Bolt will be a lesser event, other non-UK resident athletes might also decide that if Bolt ain’t coming then they aren’t either.

    All of which puts a downward, or at least stabilising pressure on tax rates. So Usain Bolt’s stance may at first glance appear selfish, but they have a beneficial effect on those who already pay too much UK tax already.

    I suspect that at some point HM Treasury will get the hint and either modify the rules slightly to exempt Usain Bolt or just dump the Agassi rules as unworkable. Certainly the continuous PR damage everytime Usain Bolt rejects an invitation to a UK athletics meeting is bad news that HMRC can do without.

    Go Bolt! Go!

  8. John says:

    I’m with John Galt.

    The disgrace is not that Bolt is exercising his completely legitimate threat to stay away if HMRC persist, it’s that the rest of us are made to pay such extraordinary levels of tax on just about everything that moves, to support a Government infratructure which is overblown, overstaffed, wasteful and (even under the control of the current monkeys) shows little if any sign of being trimmed down.

  9. We have a similar situation in the U.S. Olympic athletes have a very slim chance of winning. The United States Olympic Committee pays out medal bonuses: $25,000 goes for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.
    There’s now a movement to make these earnings Tax Exempt. Not because the money is earned in a productive manner, not because the winners will go on to receive big bucks in product endorsements, BUT BECAUSE OLYMPIC ATHLETES ARE ON TELEVISION, AND THE U.S. CONGRESS LOVES TO ASSOCIATE ITSELF WITH KNOWN WINNERS.
    Yeah, they have to train for a long time with no guarantee of victory. Well, writers write for a long time with no guarantee of being published.
    It really is that simple.

    Also, I answered your Eleven Questions here just for fun. http://thewhitedsepulchre.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-eleven-questions.html

  10. Tarka the Rotter says:

    Isnt it the truth that we are being screwed by govenrment full stop? isn’t it time to say NO? what does democracy actually mean if we can’t say NO?

  11. Roue le Jour says:

    Another vote for John Galt, I’m afraid. The more arbitrary the idiots make the system seem, the less likely people are to take it seriously. And when you’ve got your arm in people’s pockets up to the elbow, you seriously need them to take it seriously.

    Tarka, democracy means never getting to say NO. ;)

  12. John Galt says:

    It should be remembered that Athletics is a competitive sport that people will and indeed do pay to attend at the top level. So if you have Usain Bolt attending your event then you will get TV sports coverage, large crowds attending, etc., etc.

    If Usain Bolt decides not to attend then you get none of that and it goes to whichever country is prepared to host an equivalent event and not try to dip their elbows into Usain Bolt’s pockets too deeply.

    The net result of all of this is that UK athletics cannot attract the best talent, stadia like the Olympics venues do not give the same level of return on investment and GDP is lower (albeit infinitesimally) than it would otherwise have been.

    As has been stated previously in relation to this, HMRC is biting it’s nose off to spite it’s face. However, this is a matter for HM Treasury to correct. They have made slight moves in this direction by allowing ‘training days’ to be included in the computation, but they need to recognize the Laffer Curve effect of this and acknowledge that the Agassi rule is trying to tax income of highly mobile individuals who aren’t forced to be in this country to be subject to tax.

    HM Treasury can continue to compromise by offering exemptions here, there and everywhere to try and mitigate the effects of the Agassi rule (primarily football, golf, tennis and athletics), but it would be more honest to accept that they are trying to squeeze the pips too hard and they should pass legislation to revoke the Agassi rule.

  13. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    To be clear, I don’t blame anyone for trying to reduce the tax they pay, I was just slightly surprised and disturbed that the Chancellor thinks he can arbitrarily grant exemptions without any kind of underlying principle that I can see.

    This is low taxes mean world class athletes, would they not also mean world class oncologists? Which is more important? Which is more important if a loved one has cancer? Total no-brainer.

  14. John Galt says:

    In fairness to George Osborne, it wasn’t him who set this particular cat amongst the pigeons, it was HMRC during the reign of the glorious Gordon “Prudence” Brown (pbuh).

    That he’s tinkering around the edges is a sign that he thinks it’s a bad political miscalculation (a la bread and circuses), but he doesn’t have the cojones to actually step in and slap HMRC down.

    It’s not the tax that is the issue here (although it should be), it’s the impact on politics.

  15. CountingCats says:

    Why not world class plumbers as well?

    What is the definition of world class?

    What happened to equality under the law?

  16. John Galt says:

    Because plumbers are not part of the “Circuses” aspect of “Bread and Circuses”.

    Equally, although we might have signed the Entente Cordiale with the French, it still sticks in a British politicians gullet when Usain Bolt turned down an invitation to attend the Aviva London Grand Prix 2010 and instead competed in an equivalent event in Paris with an equivalent prize, but without the taxation on his “passive” endorsement earnings.

    Politicians are egotistical sons of bitches and they don’t take to being snubbed, especially not when they are being snubbed for rules that they themselves have created or are at least responsible for.

  17. Paul Marks says:

    The wild GOVERNMENT SPENDING of Western governments is leading to economic breakdown.

    Yet people are desperatly thrashing about blaming “the rich” and “the corporations” for “not paying their fair share”. As if some change in taxation could mean the out-of-control Welfare States could carry on.

    The corruption of Western culture runs deep.

  18. John Galt says:

    “As if some change in taxation could mean the out-of-control Welfare States could carry on.”

    But this is a good thing surely, because the seeds of its own destruction were sown into the welfare state from the beginning. It is just a matter of time before the crumbling edifice can no longer support its own weight and collapses. The only issue is whether that will be in 10-years, 30-years or 50-years.

    I am continually surprised by the ability of welfare states carrying huge piles of debt to continue lumbering on year-after-year.

  19. Roue le Jour says:

    John, how do you see the seeds of destruction sown into the welfare state from the beginning? As originally conceived it worked. No stamp meant no benefits, medical care was cheap, unemployment was low and life expectancy was something like six months greater than retirement age.

    The problem is the state deliberately extending the welfare state to buy votes, not the welfare state itself. I fully agree, of course, that this is the inevitable fate of any wealth redistribution scheme.

    And yes, it is very depressing that so many voters cannot see for themselves that the debt is way beyond anything that could be solved by hoovering up the middle classes last few shillings of disposable income. Democracy requires an informed electorate, and we ain’t got one of those.

  20. Mr Ed says:

    Btw that ‘taxes are for little people’ comment has always bothered me, it seemed to me as if the maid at Leona Helmsley’s tax evasion trial was put up to saying that as it would make a ‘good quote’. It seemed inherently implausible to me that someone like her would have discussed such matters with a maid.

  21. John Galt says:

    @Roue le Jour:

    By the “seeds of destruction” I meant that if the welfare state had been established as either an insurance or assurance mechanism (depending on how you view it), then over time a genuine fund or pool would have emerged – not like the US bullshit ‘trust fund’.

    As it is, the money paid in goes into general taxation and is just pissed away with everything else.

    As it is we’re just throwing money into a bottomless pit, which is not constraint by genuine funding, but just by government fiat and the capacity of the national debt to expand.

    I’m actually not too worried about it, because at some point a wholesale default becomes inevitable. It won’t be the first time it’s happened (Bretton Woods being another awful example), and we won’t be the first major economy to default, but it will happen and the welfare state will be mostly to blame.

  22. Mr Ed says:

    They won’t be eating just horse meat in the UK when the welfare state collapses. I almost hope to live to see it, just to say ‘See?’.

    I remember a news item some 20 years ago, a man somewhere in England was jailed on conviction for selling a horror movie called ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, which, despite its title, was not a historical documentary on Stalin’s famines in the Ukraine and Kazhakstan. It might be a portent of the future here. Millions with no means of support, tens of thousands with no respect for others or self, and little or nothing to hold them in check.

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