Olympic Champ Mo Farah Runs Off Into Tax Exile

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Britain’s Olympic champion Mo Farah plans to move to the USA as an expat tax exile.

According to his management, Farah, the reigning Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 metre gold medal holder lives in Portland, Oregon.

He has lived and trained in the North-west coast city since 2011, while spending the winter each year in Kenya.

Farah is a top rate taxpayer earning £100,000 a year or more and paying his tax at a rate of 45%.

Farah, aged 30 years old, was born in Somalia, but moved with his family to the UK when he was eight.

He is reckoned as one of the world’s richest athletes behind sprint champion Usain Bolt.

Tax and sport

Farah has sponsorship agreements with brands like Nike, Virgin Media, Quorn, and Lucozade.

He was also paid £243,000 for running half the London Marathon.

Many top British athletes live outside the UK. For instance, long distance runner Paula Radcliffe lives in Monaco.

Tax rates are a major issue for foreign footballers sought after by Premier League clubs. Top players on multi-million pound salaries can earn more and pay less tax in other countries, putting British teams at a disadvantage when competing for the best talent.

Tax is not only an issue for sportsmen, but also entertainers who often commute into the UK for tours and events.

The issue is nothing new – the tradition dates back to the 1950s and 1960s when tax triggered the ‘brain drain’ to the USA and other nations from the UK.

Jimmy Carr pays up £500,000

Writer and actor Noel Coward was one of the most famous early tax exiles, living in Bermuda, Jamaica and Switzerland.

Singer Cat Stevens lives in Brazil, while Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey and Phil Collins are Swiss residents.

Author Anthony Burgess, who wrote A Clockwork Orange, famously toured Europe in a motor home to avoid settling in one country as a tax resident.

Meanwhile, comedian Jimmy Carr has paid up £500,000 to HMRC after a investing in legal tax scheme in the Channel Islands to avoid tax on his multi-million income.

“I met with a financial adviser and he said, ‘Do you want to pay less tax? It’s totally legal’. I said, ‘Yes’. I now realise I’ve made a terrible error of judgement,” said Carr, star of Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats and other comedy series.

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