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F1 pays just £1m tax in UK

ESPN Staff
July 24, 2013 « Todt set to face re-election opposition | Mercedes feeling the heat ahead of Hungary »
Formula One has a low tax bill through a complex system of loans between companies in its group © Sutton Images

Formula One pays under £1 million in UK tax on profits of over £300 million according to a report in the Independent.

The report is based on a prospectus for F1's planned flotation in Singapore and references on figures from 2011. It claims the sport has a complex arrangement with the UK's HM Revenue and Customs that allowed it to pay £945,663 of corporation tax after amassing revenues of £980m even though most of its commercial operations are based in the UK.

The article explains that the Formula One Group is made up of 30 companies and tax deductable interest on intra-group loans between those companies allows the group as whole to minimise its tax bill.

"We have an efficient tax position," read an extract from the prospectus. "We expect our aggregate cash tax payments to remain broadly consistent with prior years."

The prospectus adds: "The group's tax charge is materially dependent on the amount of UK tax relief available to it for interest expense on certain intra-group loans. The amount of such relief is limited to the 'arm's length' amount of interest, which can be a subjective matter. In order to obtain greater certainty regarding our affairs we have since 2008 operated pursuant to a formal advance thin capitalisation agreement with the UK's tax authority, HM Revenue & Customs, which... applies until 31 December 2017."

Starbucks, Google and Amazon were among companies that hit the headlines earlier this year for paying little tax in the UK despite having large operations in the country. The news of Formula One's tax bill was carried on the front page of the Independent on Wednesday as an exclusive.