Do hips lie?
Shakira has been through a lot in the past few years. Her and her husband are separating after he was caught having an affair with a younger woman, and let us not forget Shakira was literally attacked by wild boars a year ago. The cherry on top? An escalating tax evasion case that could end with Shakira going to prison for eight years.
What’s the scoop?
According to PEOPLE and AP, Shakira is going to trial in Spain to face six counts of tax fraud. The sum in question? A cool $13.9 million.
I know what you’re thinking: another celebrity skipping town on their taxes. But the story is more complicated than you think.
In the eyes of Spanish law, if someone spends less than half of a year (182 days and under, to be exact) living in Spain, they are only responsible for paying taxes on income earned in Spain. However, if someone spends more than half the year in Spain, then they are considered a resident of Spain, and therefore are responsible for paying taxes on all income— even if that income is acquired outside of Spain. Shakira’s official residence is in the Bahamas, but according to Spanish prosecutors, Shakira spent more than half of her time through 2012 – 2014 in Spain, and therefore owes the country taxes on income earned during that period.
Ready for your heartstrings to be tugged? The whole reason Shakira spent so much time there was because that’s where her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Gerard Pique, is based for his soccer team.
As AP notes, “Spain has cracked down on soccer stars like Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade for not paying their full due in taxes. They were found guilty of evasion but both avoided prison time thanks to a provision that allows a judge to waive sentences under two years in length for first-time offenders.”
Sadly, Shakira has been collateral damage in this campaign. Shakira was first accused of tax evasion in January 2018 for income earned in 2011. A month later, she paid around $25 million in taxes owed. For the allegations around her residence during 2012 – 2014, Spanish prosecutors offered her a settlement, which Shakira rejected, and therefore, will go to trial.
Representatives for Shakira say that she is “confident in her innocence.” And: “Shakira has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer, and faithfully following the counsel of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, a prestigious and globally recognized tax firm. Unfortunately, the Spanish Tax Office, which loses one out of every two lawsuits with its taxpayers, continues to violate her rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process.”
In other words, Shakira’s reps said: “Check the scoreboard.” Sassy!
We can expect the prosectors to attempt to dig up evidence that Shakira spent more than 183 in Spain, per year, throughout 2012 – 2014. And reportedly, prosecutors are already digging deep, which has involved interviewing Shakira’s hairstylist and analyzing Shakira’s photos for clues on her location.
Shakira fans have little reason to worry that they’ll go eight years without their beloved star. Typically in cases like these, both parties come out swinging with big allegations and charges (Meg, anyone?). I’ve watched enough Law and Order to know that this eight year jail sentence is likely just an empty threat that exists only as the go-to concession for the negotiation with Shakira’s legal team; a concession that would be granted so that a hefty fine can stand.
Now, I want to hear from you. Are you team Shakira? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!
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