Apparently The United States is not the only place with extra tax demands on athletes and entertainers. International athletes who compete in Britain are currently taxed at 50% of the athlete’s appearance fee earned in the UK by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs. HMRC also taxes a proportion of each athlete’s endorsement deals and appearance fees outside of the UK for the relevant season.
If an athlete competes in 15 competitions worldwide during a season, with one occurring in the UK, HMRC is eligible to tax 1/15 of that athlete’s total income earned from sponsors and appearance fees.
As a result of this extra ordinary tax scheme, many athletes have removed Britain from their competing destination. Many sports industry professionals feel that the UK will be seen as ‘closed for sport’, deterring organisers from wanting to consider the UK as a location for their event and prompting athletes to question whether participation in an event staged in the UK should be included in their schedule.
It is thought that the endorsement tax would affect Bolt particularly strongly, as the 23-year-old is the recipient of several lucrative sponsorship deals, one of them coming from clothing company Puma.
Bolt, who won three gold medals at last year's London Olympic Games, had not raced previously in the United Kingdom since 2009 because of tax rules. The regulation has forced Bolt, the reigning Olympic 100 and 200 Meter champion, to opt out of the London Aviva Grand Prix for the last two years.
Under pressure from organizers and fans, Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and other athletes will be able to compete tax-free in this year's London Diamond League event after the British government agreed to tax exemptions.
"The Government is determined to do everything possible to secure the Olympic legacy and I am delighted to grant this exemption," Finance Minister George Osborne told the Daily Telegraph Wednesday.
"It's like me asking you to come to work today and pay me three times what you're getting," declared Bolt's agent, Ricky Simms.
"For anyone who earns over a million dollars a year, it doesn't make sense for them to come to Britain."
Despite Osborne's intervention, Mr. Bolt has yet to confirm his attendance at the London Diamond league event.
You go Bolt!