LTA welcomes changes in endorsement taxes

Wed, 21 Mar 19:33:00 2012

The LTA has welcomed changes to Britain's tax laws that may make it more attractive for overseas sportsmen and women to compete in the UK.

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Punitive taxes on endorsements rather than just prize money while competing in Britain had raised fears that the world's biggest names could stay away but LTA chief executive Roger Draper hoped Wednesday's annual budget announcement would be welcomed by players like Rafa Nadal.

The Spaniard elected to miss this year's Queen's Club grasscourt tournament, a traditional part of his Wimbledon preparations, in favour of an event in Germany, saying the British tax system had influenced his decision.

Wednesday's budget stated that "training days will be taken into account when calculating the proportion of worldwide endorsement income subject to UK tax" meaning that a player's tax bill for competing in Britain would be reduced.

"I am pleased that the government, like us, recognises that the existing rules on endorsement tax pose a serious risk to the status and growth of our major sporting events, and I welcome the decision to include this in the budget," Draper said.

"We will study this change in more detail, but I would like to thank the government, and particularly the sports minister, Hugh Robertson MP and David Gauke MP, treasury minister, for taking the time to listen to our concerns, and also the All England Tennis Club and the ATP for working with us to find a resolution."

Nadal is not the only high-profile sportsman to skip an event in Britain because of the tax implications as multiple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt turned down the chance to race in London in 2010.

When announcing in October that he would not play at Queen's Club, Nadal, the 2008 champion, said it was because he was being taxed on his endorsements.

"The truth is, in the UK you have a big regime for tax, it's not about the money for playing," he said.

"They take from the sponsors, from Babolat, from Nike and from my watches. This is very difficult. I am playing in the UK and losing money. I did a lot more for the last four years, but it is more and more difficult to play in the UK."

Overseas competitors at this year's London Olympics will be exempt from paying income tax.

Reuters

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