Messi handed €33 million tax bill

Messi plans to redeem himself withthe Spanish tax authoritiesby forking out €32.9 million, after legal proceedings were opened against him in 2013 for tax fraud amounting to €4.1 million euros resulting from declarations made between 2007 and 2009. He has already settled up for this sum, plus interest.

Legal action was taken over tax deduction irregularities relating to the player’s image rights that had allegedly been diverted to tax havens.

Messi has now voluntarily made an additional tax declaration for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. To balance the books, the footballer will sign a financial guarantee to pay a total of €25 million before 2018.

The fine resulting from the €4.1 million fraud still remains outstanding. The player’s cooperation with the tax office looks likely to be taken into consideration to secure him the minimum penalty, which is 65% of the amount defrauded, i.e. €2.7 million. Messi will end up paying a total of €32.9 million when the final bill is settled.

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Messi was acquitted of fraud by the judge on the basis that he believed the player was unaware of his tax affairs and he is therefore exempt from any criminal liability, but not financial liability.