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Why Spain’s approach to taxing image rights and agency income is discouraging overseas footballers

Spain Tax
Friday, 01 March 2019 By Carlos Carnero, Eduardo Montejo

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of tax investigations into foreign footballers playing in the Spanish Leagues. The investigations have focused around two area of income in particular:

  1. Image rights income: which is the income that the clubs or sponsors pay to the players or to companies owned by the players, and which is the amount that has to be paid back by the companies to the player.

  1. Agency income: which is the income paid by the club to the agent of the player, or to the intermediary who participates in the transaction, for the services rendered.

The investigations reveal, above all, a lack of legal certainty in the space that is, in the authors’ view, having a detrimental effect on Spain’s ability to attract top sporting talent. This article examines the points in more depth and offers the authors’ thoughts on potential solutions. The focus is mainly on the football, although the points apply more generally to the whole sports industry.

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About the Author

Eduardo Montejo

Eduardo Montejo

Partner, Senn Ferrero Asociados Sports and Entertainment SLP

Eduardo is partner of Senn Ferrero Asociados Sports and Entertainment SLP. He holds a degree in Law and Business Administration and a PhD in Tax Law. He wasincluded in Best Lawyers ranking from 2015 in Tax, Sports and Entertainment practice areas.

He regularly advises clubs and sports professionals. Given his experience, he is regarded as an expert in employment contracts intellectual property rights, legal aspects of sponsorship contracts, and tax planning for sports entities.

Carlos Carnero

Carlos Carnero

Senior Associate, Senn, Ferrero Asociados Sports & Entertainment

Carlos Carnero is a senior associate at Senn Ferrero Asociados Sports and Entertainment SLP. He is focused in the tax advisory of sportspeople, artists and sports entities. He has expertise in contracts for sportspeople, image rights exploitation, and sponsorship agreements, and he provides advice to football players in the main world leagues. He has published numerous articles about sports taxation in legal journals, business press and specialized sports websites.

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