The commercial appropriation or exploitation of a person’s identity and associated images are commercially valuable, particularly for individuals such as actors, musicians and athletes who commercialise their images in association with the promotion of products or services. These days it is not only about talent, it’s just as much, or even more, about the brand. Often a career in sport is at its height at a young age, but if the brand can be built and protected, it is possible to capitalise on that talent for years after retirement and even after death.
A footballer's 'image rights' can form an essential part of his earning potential and the use of the term has become increasingly common when reading about footballers' wages. Wayne Rooney, Sol Campbell and the ubiquitous, David Beckham are all high profile players whose earnings from image rights are at the top end of the spectrum and have often been dissected by the press.
As Depeche Mode once said, "It's a competitive world1". No-one should be more aware of that than sportspeople. However, are sportspeople aware of the tax incentives that are offered by governments to attract major sporting events to particular countries? There are obvious commercial and public relations benefits to being the host country for significant events like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, Champions League finals etc. For obvious reasons many countries want to fulfill the role. But, believe it or not, the tax rate and tax system of a potential host country can be a deciding factor in whether athletes or footballers actually want their key events to be held there.
In 2006, the Brazilian government, after several discussions inside the Parliament, enacted the Federal Statute number 11.438 regarding sports incentives (the “Statute”). The Statute could be an example for countries that have interest in promoting amateur sports and academies with the aim to develop professional competitive sport while increasing the social inclusion of its citizens.
When Sports Goes Criminal by Adam Craggs
There has been much talk in the media and amongst politicians in recent months about tax avoidance and tax evasion. The vital distinction between the two is that tax avoidance is the lawful arrangement of one's affairs so as to reduce or avoid a liability to tax which might otherwise arise, whereas tax evasion is unlawful. The difference between the two has famously been described as the thickness of a prison wall!
The Taxman is Tackling Sporting Image Rights Again by Jeremy Drew, Partner and Head of our Intellectual Property & Technology Group, and Nicole Mellors of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP
Image rights are big business, in some cases doubling an athlete’s earning capacity. Last year, Sol Campbell successfully sued Portsmouth Football Club for almost £1.7m for unpaid image rights payments.
By Richard Baldwin. The Community Amateur Sports Club scheme which was established in 2002 has generated £82.2 million for community sports clubs according to Deloitte, the international accounting firm, since April 2002.As at 31st August 2010 the 5776 clubs that have registered with HMRC as CASC’s under the scheme have on average received a cash benefit of nearly £15,000.
By Mark Hovell, George Davies Solicitors.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs seem more interested in Football than the average punter – there are currently challenges to agents’ payments, both for VAT and PAYE; to image right structures; and to testimonial receipts.
Sixth VAT Directive Exemption Services linked to sport Services supplied to persons taking part in sport Services supplied to unincorporated associations and to corporate persons Included Conditions
For full case reference, here.