Simon Sweetman on the Olympics
There was recently a great deal of fuss and hoopla about Olympic tax exemptions in which it was stated that several of the major corporate sponsors, including McDonalds and Coca-Cola, had agreed to waive their exemptions, earning them a pat on the back, says Simon Sweetman.
It is not clear to me that any such exemptions actually existed in the first place. The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Tax Regulations 2010 (a statutory instrument) do provide various exemptions from income tax. All of them are for individuals (particularly performers and other workers associated with the games who are neither resident nor ordinarily resident in the UK). So particularly it exempts Olympic athletes from the normal tax rules applying to performers and athletes appearing in the UK (and the sort of problems that Andre Agassi famously got into). This is not unusual – a similar exemption applied to the Champions League final when it was held in the UK. In the case of the Olympics, at least part of the motive might have been the immense complications of trying to apply the normal rules to all these people as they surged in and out of the country.