Gareth Bale is the latest Spanish-based star to fall foul of the country’s tax authorities after being fined €337,000 for image rights issues.
The fine followed an investigation by the Spanish Tax Authority which found the footballer was using a UK company – Primesure Limited – to avoid paying taxes on his image rights in Spain. Bale is reportedly a director of the company.
According to El Mundo, the authority found Bale failed to pay the requisite in tax in 2013, the year he joined from Tottenham, and reported the Welsh international has already appealed.
Luka Modric, Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos have all experienced similar issues while at Real Madrid.
However, the authorities are apparently not treating Bale’s tax offence as a fiscal crime, in contrast with the probes into the tax affairs of former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Although Bale was not a Spanish tax resident in 2013 the Spanish Treasury say commercial income while playing for Madrid that year should have been taxed.
However, UK-based tax expert Miles Dean, managing partner of Milestone International Tax, said the fine was further evidence that the Spanish tax authorities “simply ride rough shod over the rule of law”.
“As a UK citizen resident in the EU, Bale is perfectly entitled to use a company established in his country of domicile to hold and manage assets, in this case his image rights.”