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Usain Bolts for Taxes

July 12, 2010 · 5 comments

The fastest man in the world has finally found the one thing that will slow him down: Britain’s tax laws.

According to the BBC, Bolt may not compete in the UK until the 2012 Olympics. He told a news audience, “I am definitely not going to run [in London].”

Like the US, the UK attempts to tax on worldwide income. However, unlike the US, the UK prorates the amount of tax based on the number of events that the athlete competes in; the Telegraph points out that this is a departure from the old rules which calculated tax according to the number of days of competition in the UK, not appearances. This is in addition to a 50% tax rate on appearance fees.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t sit well with many athletes. Spanish golfer Sergio “El Nino” Garcia has admitted limiting appearances in the UK because of the country’s tax laws. Event promoters worry that other athletes will follow suit. There is one saving grace: in order to ensure that athletes actually show up for the 2012 Olympics, the British taxing authorities have agreed to a limited exemption to the rule.

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