Simon Sweetman on the Olympics

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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.

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08th Aug 2012 11:04

Perhaps the tax concessions

are for Companies that leave empty seats?

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08th Aug 2012 13:00

Empty seats issue solved!

A colleague has just returned from the Olympics and has discovered the story behind at least some of the empty seats. Pensioners have been applying for the £5 seats without any intention of using them - what they want is the free Travelcard which would normally cost over £12!

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09th Aug 2012 14:41

Corporate tax exemption is here ...

 ... Reg 10 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Tax Regulations 2010, and HMRC view at

Basically, it's a corporate tax exemption in that Olympic-related employees of a non-resident sponsor company will not be taken into account in considering whether that company has a permanent establishment in the UK. So they can send all the employees over that they want to, those employees alone won't create a permanent establishment even if they're here for long enough that, normally, they would result in that company having a taxable permanent establishment.

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