Thursday, February 15, 2007


How Bono avoids paying taxes

What do Bono and Leona Helmsley have in common? He also thinks the little people of America should pay taxes, not him. (Via Drudge)

"What a group like U2 or the Rolling Stones has done is create a holding company that owns the rights to their songs and their name," Richard LeVine, an international tax expert who counsels corporate and individual clients on asset protection for the Connecticut-based Withers, Bergman LLP, tells ABC News.

"So every time their song is played on the radio, or they sell an album, royalties are paid to their Dutch company, which allows them to collect millions of dollars in royalties tax-free and lowers the profits they're paying taxes on in their home countries," LeVine says.

Funny thing is, ABC has a poll on this issue the poll question being:

Bono has lobbied industrialized nations to provide $50 billion in aid to Africa, while U2 has largely avoided paying taxes on its earnings, estimated to be around $900 million.

Is it ethical for Bono to avoid paying taxes while advocating countries to give 1 percent of their GDP to fight poverty?

And the choices are,

No. Bono should pay his taxes fairly so industrialized nations will have money to send to Africa.


Yes. Bono has been invaluable in raising awareness of global poverty.

At the time I voted of a total of 995 there were 774 No votes and 221 Yes votes. I would like to think that the people voting yes misunderstood the question or were just pranksters but its possible they were SP who just did not want to see one of their saints slandered.

Saint Bono. Patron Saint of the tax shelter.

Diego adds: Some of this hit the fan last year:

Bono, the rock star and campaigner against third-world debt, is asking the Irish government to contribute more to Africa. At the same time, he is reducing tax payments that could help finance that aid.

After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his fellow U2 band members this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands. The group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about a 5 percent tax on their royalties in the Netherlands, less than half the Irish rate.

Sounds like a politician to me.


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