© Ella Ling

Rafael Nadal portrait

Rafa Nadal goes a break up against The Tax Man


Five things about tax breaks for tennis players:

No longer will tennis players be paying tax for the privilege of practising in Britain.
The introduction of a so-called ‘Granny Tax’ – pensioners will be worse off after changes announced by the Chancellor George Osborne – and the end of the 50 pence tax rate were understandably the headlines from the Budget. So it will have escaped many people’s notice that there was some good news for the British tennis industry, with a change to how visiting international sportsmen are taxed when they come to Britain. Individual athletes such as Rafael Nadal pay income tax on a percentage of their global endorsement deals, with the amount in proportion to the amount of time they spend in the country.

That is on top of tax on prize-money and any appearance fees. However, in the Budget, it was announced that “training days will be taken into account when calculating the proportion of worldwide endorsement income subject to UK tax”, so the bill will be reduced.

This comes too late to persuade Rafael Nadal to play at Queen’s Club this summer.
Nadal has already committed to play at Halle in Germany. Here is what the Spaniard has previously had to say on the subject: “The truth is, in the UK you have a big regime for tax. It’s not about the money for playing. They take from the sponsors, from Babolat, from Nike and from my watches. This is very difficult. I am playing in the UK and losing money. I did a lot more for the last four years, but it is more and more difficult to play in the UK.”

This change was the result of lobbying by the All England Club and the Lawn Tennis Association.
“I welcome the decision to include this in the Budget,” said Roger Draper, the LTA’s chief executive. “I am pleased that the Government, like us, recognises that the existing rules on endorsement tax pose a serious risk to the status and growth of our major sporting events.”

This increases the chances of the year-end men’s championships, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, staying in London after next year.
Players’ agents and accountants will have welcomed these changes to the British tax code. Draper had previously said: “The player tax issue hasĀ been gettingĀ in the way.”

Tennis players are still subject to heavier tax than footballers and other athletes in team sports.
When athletes in team sports compete in Britain, they do not pay tax on their endorsement income.