Could A Tax Threat Hit Sheffield?

New tax rules that came into force in April could force top sports stars to shun competitions in the UK – which as far as trials riders go could threaten the UK’s biggest event for the likes of Toni Bou, Adam Raga and Albert Cabestany, the Sheffield Indoor Trial.

Concern has been raised following an article spotted in the Daily Telegraph, which if interpreted to include big earners like Bou and Raga, would land them with a huge tax bill.

The Telegraph article referred to top athletes like Usain Bolt, following HM Revenue and Customs recent decision to charge tax on a proportion of their worldwide earnings, rather than on the event(s) in which they compete in the UK.

The illustration used by the Telegraph indicates that the likes of Bolt could be taxed at 50% of a proportion of their total earnings. They suggest that if a competitor takes part in a UK event that is, say, one event in a ten round series, then they could be charged tax at 50% of one tenth of their total earnings.

Take that literally and if a trials rider was sponsored/earned to the value of say £1,000,000, and the UK event was one of ten, then arguably he could face a tax liability of £50,000 as being 50% of £100,000.

Quite obviously, this interpretation is mine, and I’m no tax expert, but I suggest there could be a case for some concern, and it would be interesting to learn from somebody who is a tax expert whether I have got the wrong end of the stick or if there is some truth in this suggestion.

Anyone know?

Wow, what a busy weekend in Cumbria. The Lakes MTA ran two national trials over the weekend, round 8 of the British Sidecar Trials Championship round and the National Twinshock Team Trial, and whilst I’m not a formal member of the Lakes MTA, I acted as secretary for both events as the Lakes regular secretary, Mick Wren was away on holiday.

Over the past few months I have plugged both these trials in order to get an entry as large as possible. Whilst recognising that Torver in Cumbria is hardly the most accessible of places to reach, the Twinshock Team Trial proved to be well supported with 20 teams entered from many parts of the country, including East Anglia and Devon as well as from areas more local to the Lake District. That totalled 78 riders and all 78 turned up – that in itself is nigh on a record.

But getting sidecars to support the trial – and the supporting Pre 75 solo class – proved very difficult with only 17 sidecars and seven solos entered. Round 8 of a series was always going to be a stumbling block, but offering a sidecar trial, over totally new terrain to a comparatively small group of competitors, was a big effort from a small group and they did it simply to offer the three wheeler brigade a new challenge, away from the usual events they tackle.

Sidecar trials are definitely a dying breed and to have a new one should have been a Godsend and the club expected at least 25 to take part, so it has to be said they were disappointed.

The trouble is – and I know this as a fact as I rode a sidecar for six or seven years – is that they are their own worst enemy. They certainly don’t contribute to Trials Central, and have no appreciation of the need to get entries in on time. If I hadn’t extended the closing date by a day or so, then the total would have been even fewer. However, as a bunch of enthusiasts, they were great, and it was a pleasure to be part of their trial

As for the trial itself, I reckon that for a first time effort it was superb. Sure the club were desperately short of observers and other officials, and the grief extended towards the club at the conclusion may well have been the right argument, but it was certainly at the wrong time. But that, perhaps, was only to be expected. Enough said.

As for the Twinshock trial the following day, the weather was absolutely atrocious, forcing the club to lose three sections after the punch card change and to re-route the course back onto the roads to avoid a very swollen river. And that was a fabulous trial appreciated by everybody there.