Celebrity Tax Tuesday: Soccer Stud, Cristiano Ronaldo Gets Kicked For Tax Evasion.
I don't follow Soccer. However, when a high-profile, filthy-stinkin' rich athlete gets called out for tax evasion, don't we all get a little curious?
A Spanish state prosecutor accused Real Madrid (that's the name of the team) soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo of defrauding Spain’s tax office of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) in unpaid taxes on Tuesday. Holy Red Cards!
In a statement, Madrid’s regional state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four accounts of tax fraud from 2011-14.
It said the Portugal forward “took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights.” If true, that's not exactly playing by the rules.
The statement said Ronaldo used what it deems a shell company in the Virgin Islands to “create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain’s Tax Office.”
The prosecutor's office categorized Ronaldo's failure to pay taxes as "voluntary" and "conscious." Ronaldo became a Spanish tax resident in January 2010 and opted to adhere to the Spanish tax regime that applies to foreign-born workers in the country in November 2011. And last month, tax officials said Ronaldo adjusted his tax declarations and paid an extra 6 million euros ($6.7 million) in 2014
Ronaldo’s agency had previously said he was up to date on his taxes. (Shocker!)
This dude is one of the most successful and richest athletes on the planet after a record-breaking career at the tippity-top level of Euro soccer. He's a four-time Ballon d’Or (like Golden Gloves, but for the feet) winner, the 32-year-old is Europe’s leading soccer star. He's led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles and its first Spanish league in five seasons and helped Portugal to win last year’s European Championship. Wowzer!
Ronaldo is the latest high-profile soccer player to run afoul of Spain’s tax man. Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (that's an ironic last name) was convicted of tax fraud for unpaid income from image rights last year, but he is not expected to serve prison time since it was his first offense. Ahh, when in Rome... err, wait... Rome's not in... forget it.
Lesson being (YET AGAIN): Don't go out, become a big star, make gobs of money and convince yourself you have superpowers to become invisible to hide from the Tax Goblins. But if you do, hey... you've got a nice blog entry waiting for you here.