Spain Demands Shakira Hand Over $7 Million In Unpaid Taxes—Latest Tax Trouble For Pop Star


Spanish tax authorities filed new charges against Shakira on Tuesday for allegedly failing to pay over $7 million in taxes in just one year, the Associated Press reported, the second time the country has accused the pop star of committing income and wealth tax fraud.

The most recent charges are the result of an investigation that began in July and allege she used an offshore holding company based in another country to avoid paying $7.1 million in Spanish taxes on her 2018 income, the AP reported.

The charges come in the same year she is expected to stand trial in a different case that accuses her of failing to pay $14.31 million in Spanish taxes between 2012 and 2014.

Spain said she lived in the country at the time with her then-partner, soccer star Gerard Piqué, but Shakira says she was traveling a majority of the year and “there was no way I qualified as a resident,” she said in an interview with Elle magazine.

A representative for the star did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, but in a July statement to Forbes said Shakira has “always acted in accordance with the law and under the advice of the best tax experts.”

Spain uses three things to decide if someone is a resident and therefore owes taxes, according to the New York Times: physical presence, location of a spouse and children and if the country is someone’s “center of economic interest.” Shakira and Piqué were together for 11 years before their 2022 split and share two children, who now live with her in Miami. Shakira is expected to go to trial in the first tax case on November 20. The initial investigation began in February of 2018 and said Shakira should have been paying taxes on all of her revenue generated worldwide to the Spanish government when she lived in Barcelona with Piqué. If convicted, she could face prison time, though there is a Spanish law that allows first-time tax evaders to stay out of jail if their imposed sentence is under two years. Raised in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, Shakira is Colombia’s highest-selling artist of all time and has amassed a fortune through partnerships like a line of toys with Fisher Price, Proctor & Gamble’s 3D White, yogurt company Activia and Brazilian shoe brand Ipanema. She also served for a stint as a judge on NBC’s The Voice.

$22 million. That’s how much soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo ended up paying in back taxes and fines to settle his own tax evasion case. He was accused of failing to pay 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) in taxes between 2011 and 2013, when he played for Real Madrid. He was alleged to have avoided taxes by funneling income related to image rights through offshore companies—the same basis for accusations against fellow soccer stars Samuel Eto’o and Neymar.

Celebrities are no strangers to tax evasion cases both in the United States and abroad. Musicians Chuck Berry, Lionel Richie, Prince, Ozzy Osbourne, Lil Wayne and Mary J. Blige have all faced tax allegations. Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley are currently serving prison time on charges of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiring to defraud the IRS, joining Teresa and Joe Guidice from The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore’s star Mike Sorrentino as convicted tax fraudsters. Other stars that have done prison time for tax offenses include Wesley Snipes, singer Lauryn Hill, rapper Ja Rule and former baseball player Pete Rose.

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