The recent conviction of Dolce and Gabbana for tax evasion in Italy has drawn the attention of the world. According to prosecutors, the fashion designers, who are favorites of such celebrities as Katy Perry and Madonna, sold two of their main brands to a holding company, Gado, based in Luxumborg as a way to avoid declaring taxes on the brands. Dolce and Gabbana are not the only celebrities who have faced tax-related charges over the past five years, however.
The German soccer great, Uli Hoeness, admitted in May that he had voluntarily notified tax authorities to a Swiss bank account, established to evade taxes. German tax authorities are now investigating him for tax evasion, and damaging his friend, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is running for re-election. If found guilty, Hoeness could be sentenced to jail.
According to 2012 reports, Starbucks had not paid taxes to the United Kingdom in three years, and had only paid £8.6 million ($13.1 million) in the 14 years they had been operating in Britain. A four-month investigation by Reuters found that Starbucks avoided taxes in the United Kingdom by paying fees, such as royalty payments, to other divisions of its company. These payments allow the company to operate at a loss in Britain, and government officials admit that the practice is not illegal.
In December 2010, the actor Gerard Depardieu claimed he was going to renounce his French citizenship after being accused of tax evasion in his native country. The accusation of tax evasion came after Depardieu purchased a home in Belgium, approximately a mile over the French border. Depardieu admitted that part of the reason he purchased the home was to reduce a significantly increasing tax burden in France, drawing criticism from members of the French government. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault accused Depardieu of tax evasion. No charges were ever brought against Depardieu, who accepted a Russian passport from Vladmir Putin.
In May 2013, Grammy-winning singer, Lauryn Hill, was sentenced to three months in federal prison for failing to pay income taxes. The singer must report on July 8 to begin her sentence, and three months of home confinement will follow once she is released from prison. Pleading guilty to three counts of failing to file taxes between 2005 and 2007, Hill owes more than $1.8 million. In a letter posted on Tumblr on June 28, Hill blamed “historical racism” for her tax problems.
In November 2009, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported the celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, fell behind on tax payments for four of his restaurants. Ramsay admitted that during the recession, his restaurants suffered financially, as did many high end restaurants. He was at risk of losing them if the tax bill was not paid, and he has since made arrangements to pay the bill.
In 2009, Joe Francis, the creator of the famous “Girl’s Gone Wild” videos, was indicted on federal tax evasion charges for deducting fake business expenses of more than $20 million. He plead guilty to two counts of filing false tax returns, misdemeanors, and avoided tax evasion charges that would have earned much stiffer penalties.
Abi is a retired lawyer who specialised in financial disputes. To avoid financial disagreements Abi advises individuals and businesses to seek advise from businesses such Francis Clark chartered accountants.