If you are an internationally known and talented professional racing driver, you travel a lot. You are also more likely to change your place of residence and possibly even change countries while doing so. Either way, you are likely to get a really good accounting firm to help you manage your money.
Take three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, for example. From 2013 to 2015, he and his legal team claim to have lived in Switzerland and not somewhere in his home country of Spain. The Spanish tax authorities disagreed and have filed a lawsuit. They insisted that Lorenzo owed € 35 million in unpaid taxes and fines and accused him of tax evasion.
At that time Lorenzo was still driving professionally for Yamaha, with an official residence in Switzerland. To claim a Swiss place of residence, people must stay in the country for at least 90 days per calendar year. If you meet this number, you can pay your income tax in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, according to Moto.IT, Spanish law prohibits people residing abroad from living in Spain for more than six months a year. Lorenzo is certainly not the only professional racing driver who has had similar problems with the Spanish tax authorities in the past. Dani Pedrosa and the two Espargaro brothers have also faced similar obstacles lately.
Lorenzo can calm down for the time being, because Spain’s Central Economic Administrative Court found that the demands of the Spanish Ministry of Finance were not true. After examining the evidence, the court found that Lorenzo was in fact resident in Switzerland during the period in question. Therefore, he was acquitted of the charges and does not have to pay the hefty 35 million euros to the Spanish Ministry of Finance. You can find the full report in the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, but it’s behind a paywall.