By Tom Mackintosh
Usain Bolt will be among a host of non-resident athletes to benefit from new legislation after the Chancellor’s budget revealed plans to relax tax laws during the London Anniversary Games.
George Osborne announced a one-off income tax exemption for overseas Olympians and Paralympians taking part in a repeat of last year’s track and field event.
The decision will mean athletes will not have to pay income tax on appearance fees, prize money and endorsement income earned in relation to the three-day event.
The event, which will be held at the Olympic Stadium in July, will mark the one year anniversary of the London 2012 opening ceremony and help maintain the Olympic legacy.
Osborne said: “The Government is determined to do everything possible to secure the Olympic legacy and I am delighted to grant this exemption.”
The temporary exemption in the Chancellor’s budget will persuade top athletes, such as Bolt, to participate when usual non-resident tax rules would prevent them from competing.
Bolt stole the show last summer winning gold in the 100 metre, 200 metre and 400 metre relay running events in blistering pace to secure his legendary sporting status.
The reappearance of the eight-time gold medal winner would boost the calibre of the event by luring back other high profile athletes and other international interest.
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson welcomed the decision: “We want to attract the very best athletes, and this helps us do that.”
The financial constraints for foreign athletes with no provision in place could discourage them from taking part as they would make an overall financial loss.
Not only does the UK claim a proportion of the prize money and appearance fees, they also demand a share of sponsorship income.
The Government intend to include the policy as part of this year’s Finance Bill with the exemption applying only to income tax and will not cover resident athletes.