Sports Image Rights: ITSG Conference in Beijing

By Kevin Offer Tax Adviser London

The Annual Conference of the International Tax Specialist Group (ITSG) was held in Beijing on 24 – 26 October 2018.

As part of the Conference a session on the Taxation of Entertainers and Sportspersons was held on the first day.

This year Kevin Offer and Luis Dura discussed the changes relating to image rights in Spain and other countries followed by a case study on an international footballer. The views of advisers from a number of countries were also voiced.

The Spanish position included a review of the Safe Harbour regime, which has been attacked by the Spanish tax administration in recent years, so the question was raised as to how safe the Safe Harbour really is.

It is clear that there has to be substantial economic activity within any image rights company and that the payments to the player should be linked to the exploitation of the image rights. The Spanish Courts are considering these points when reviewing cases.

The position in other countries, such as Australia, UK, France, Switzerland and Italy, was also discussed amongst the delegates.

The conclusion of all was that image rights structures are increasingly being looked at by tax administrations and the importance of ensuring any such arrangements are entered into for commercial reasons has never been greater!

Kevin Offer may be contacted by e-mail at ‘’