Tennis Star’s Court of Appeal hearing will have important ramifications for the international live tour business

December 2004

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Andre Agassi has launched an appeal against the Inland Revenue in the United Kingdom in a case which will have implications across the sporting and entertainments worlds. The tennis star is fighting an Inland Revenue decision to allocate a taxable charge against some of his sponsorship income even though he is a foriegn national and the monies were paid to him outside of the UK by a non resident sponsor. The Inland Revenue deemed that some of the income from the sponsorship must be attributable to tournaments and public appearances made in the United Kingdom. The High Court (Mr Justice Lightman) has already rejected his challenge against the assessment of a tax payable of 250 (E40,000 approx) in respect of payments from Nike and Head even though neither company had a tax presence in the UK. The High Court ruled that the payments, made in the 1998/99 tax year, fell within the provisions of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 and supported the Inland Revenue assessment on the basis that at least part of the payment was derived from time Agassi spent at tournaments in the UK including the Wimbledon grand slam event. The Court of Appeal hearing continues.

COMMENT :This case has clear implications for touring artists where a sponsor payment could be subject to tax charges in a number of countries on an international tour even where the original payment may have been taxed in the country of origin and/or where the artist is a taxpayer. This could result in complex double taxation issues and financial complexity when planning an international tour backed by sponsorship.

Source: The Times 5 November 2004

See The August 2003 Law Updates for the European Court of Justice decision regarding the illegality of German withholding tax applied to touring artists in the Arnoud Gerriste Case C-234/01 12 June 2003


Andre Agassi has now successfuly appealled this decision: The Court of Appeal has said that he is not a person who could be charged for income tax in these circumstances and the provisions of section 555 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 did not impose a liability. This will be updated in the January Law Updates.

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