Hamilton posed with a Union Jack. But he lives in Monaco—and his inscrutable tax arrangements should give us pauseby Steve Bloomfield / October 30, 2017 / Leave a comment
Pictures of Lewis Hamilton holding up the Union flag in celebration are across all today’s back pages. The British racing driver has become Formula One world champion for the fourth time, making him the most successful Briton in the sport’s history. But don’t mistake that flag for patriotism—Hamilton is no national hero.
Formula One drivers are paid millions of pounds a year. Hamilton is one of the richest—his three-year deal with Mercedes is worth £100m. His tax bill should run into the tens of millions, but although Hamilton claims he does pay some tax in the UK, his arrangements are far from clear. Recently, he moved from tax-friendly Switzerland to equally friendly Monaco.
This is not the behaviour of a patriotic hero, it’s the actions of a selfish individualist.
How much tax would Hamilton pay altogether if his income was taxed at UK rates? On top of the reported £33.3m a year from Mercedes, Forbes magazine estimates he brings in a further £6m from advertising deals, bringing his overall income to £39.3m. Let’s assume his agent takes 15 per cent—that leaves Hamilton with a likely pay-packet of 33,405,000.
Like every Brit, he would have a personal allowance of £11,500. The next £22,000 is taxed at 20 per cent, a further £116,500 is taxed at 40 per cent and the remaining £33,2500,000 is taxed at the top rate of 45 per cent. That gives Hamilton a tax bi…