Giving tennis more than a shot

(Slight) UK Budget Changes For (Among Others) Foreign Tennis Players

Last October, Rafael Nadal expressed a lot of discontent regarding the huge amount of taxes the tennis players have to pay in the UK, on top of the taxes they have to pay in their own country. As we know, he isn’t the only sportsman having problems with the UK tax system, where a non-UK resident, for instance a tennis player, is taxed on 20% of his prize money and, on top of that, on up to 20% of his endorsement deals.


In Nadal’s case, this had for consequence that he decided to play his annual Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Halle instead of his usual Queen’s Club. Furthermore, it compromised a possible renewal of the contract to hold the ATP World Tour Finals in London, contract that comes to an end in 2013 and was generating a lot of revenues for the country, without even mentioning the high amount of taxes paid by the players (except UK residents like Andy Murray).


This seemed to have made the UK government think, for they made a slight change in their tax law today regarding the tax charged non-resident sports people in the budget deposited today:


Taxation of non-resident sports people – HMRC will revise its practice on the taxation of non-resident sports people to take training days into account when calculating the proportion of worldwide endorsement income subject to UK tax.

(NDLR – HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs)


However, these changes make me question myself: what are considered “training days”? The ones the sportsman spends in the UK prior and after the sports event in which he’s taking part? In the case of tennis players, will this count the days in which they are not scheduled to play?


All in all, will this change much in terms of what’s taken from the players?


On this, we don’t yet have answers. Hopefully it will be significant enough, as London is at risk of losing the ATP WTF in the near future. Moreover, losing a superstar like Rafa at Queen’s is also not too good, even though the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) confirmed today the presence of Juan Martín del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who join the best British player, Andy Murray, at the Queen’s Club tournament in June.


The LTA welcomed the news of the change in legislation put forward in this year’s budget. However, they will also take time, like us, to study the change in more detail. Detail that we should, hopefully, find out shortly about.


The only thing to say, then, is, “To be continued…”






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