U.K. Gives Tax Exemption For Track Athletes Competing In London Summer Meet
U.K. Chancellor George Osborne has “granted a tax amnesty to overseas athletes competing in this summer’s London Grand Prix in the Olympic Stadium to ensure that Usain Bolt takes centre stage on the anniversary" of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Osborne agreed to a “one-off exemption” for athletes to compete in the Diamond League event tax-free. The meet was “originally due to be staged in its traditional home of Crystal Palace but was switched to the Olympic Stadium last month to mark the first anniversary of the Games on July 27.” The meet is expected to “retain its two-day format,” and there are “high hopes that both sessions will be an 80,000 sell-out.” Under current U.K. tax rules, Bolt normally “would be paying tax not just on his earnings at the meeting but on a proportion of his entire global income," including his multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals. The exemption “affects only non-resident athletes, and covers any appearance fees, prize money and the slice of sponsorship income that would normally be taxable” (TELEGRAPH, 2/7). Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, said, “It’s good news for the Diamond League meeting and British sport in general. The rules were discouraging a lot of the top stars from competing in the U.K. when they had options elsewhere” (London DAILY MAIL, 2/7).