In July, Shakira turned down a plea deal. She said in the Elle interview that standing trial was “a matter of principle.”
Residence according to Spanish tax legislation
Spanish internal tax legislation uses three criteria to consider whether a person is a resident of a Spanish territory: physical presence, center of economic interests and the location of a spouse and children. In Shakira’s case, determining presence is key, said Adolfo Martín Jiménez, a professor of tax law at the University of Cádiz and an expert in international taxation at Pérez-Llorca, a law firm in Madrid.
“Even if you are not present for so many days, a sporadic presence is considered presence,” Jiménez said, adding that “there is a tendency in Spain, within the tax administration, to consider whether a person cannot prove they are residents in another country. , then it is presumed that they are doing something strange.
As in the United States, Spain applies a global link to income. Fines like the one pursued by the Spanish tax authorities (23 million euros) are based on income, Jiménez said.
How do these cases usually develop?
Shakira is not the first celebrity to be targeted by the Spanish tax authorities.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer star, paid $22 million in back taxes and penalties as part of a 2018 settlement for unreported earnings from his advertising contracts. As part of the deal, Ronaldo, who played for Real Madrid for 9 years, accepted a two-year prison sentence. But under Spanish law, first-time tax offenders convicted of a financial crime cannot be sentenced to prison if the sentence is two years or less.
Lionel Messi, the Argentine soccer star who played for Barcelona, has also been sentenced in Spain for not disclosing some of his advertising contracts.
But just because Shakira has paid the taxes, as well as an additional 1.7 million euros in interest, doesn’t mean she’s safe. Carlos Cruzado, a tax expert and president of Gestha, the union for tax authority technicians, said prosecutors had already taken this into account as a remedy when they asked for an eight-year prison sentence.