Start, 2013 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring,

F1 ‘pays ??1m tax on ??300m profit’

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, 2013 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring,In the round-up: The Independent details how Formula One Management minimises its tax payments in the UK.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Revealed – Formula One pays ??1m corporation tax on ??300m profit (The Independent)

“The company that runs Formula One has used a complex technique to legally avoid paying tens of millions of pounds in corporation tax despite racking up annual profits of ??305m last year, The Independent has learned.”

Formula One Russian Grand Prix venue gets initial thumbs up from FIA (AutoWeek)

“The new venue of next year’s Russian Grand Prix in the resort city of Sochi has received a favorable report after an FIA inspection by the governing body’s Formula One technical delegate, Charlie Whiting.”

Wer hat die besseren Nerven? (Auto Motor und Sport, German)

AMuS claims Bernie Ecclestone is trying to take control of accrediting journalists and photographers for F1 races from the FIA.

Williams ‘positive’ over tyres (Sky)

Chief engineer Xevi Pujolar: “New-tyre grip is a bit different on the warm-up phase but then in long-run consistency we think they are a bit better. In terms of graining and resistance it’s better as well. For the race it will change a bit because you can push, so for us it’s a positive change.”

Williams not planning more Wolff runs (Williams)

Wolff: “We have two great drivers so there is no possibility of Friday driving happening before the end of the season.”

Hungary, then the Half-Term Holiday (Ferrari)

Felipe Massa: “People say the characteristics of our car are not best suited to this circuit and that it will be tough for us to fight for the win here, but I am not sure this is an accurate assessment, because there have been other circuits where we expected our car to be very strong and it was not and vice versa.”

Can Formula One Survive Without Bernie Ecclestone? (Die Welt / Worldcrunch)

“The coffers of the small racing stables are empty, which is why in the past they?ve accepted — without complaint ?ǣ to race in authoritarian countries like Bahrain and China. A recent rule of thumb at F1 has been: If you show us the money, we?ll race.”


Comment of the day

Lots of you were pleased to see Austria’s grand prix track return to the F1 calendar, including @JackySteeg:

Excellent news! I just hope they don?t make any modifications to add a kilometer-long straight and a dozen 90 degree corners, to make it more ??modern??. F1 needs an old-fashioned short track.

Plus, it?s always good to see F1 go to a country with an established fan base.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Karan and Younger Hamii!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

It rained for the second race in a row on this day in 1988 at the Hockeheimring. Ayrton Senna won again while Alain Prost was second in the other McLaren after a spin.

Gerhard Berger took third for Ferrari, well ahead of team mate Michele Alboreto.

Here’s the conclusion to the race:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

73 comments on “F1 ‘pays ??1m tax on ??300m profit’”

  1. Is it just me or is Bernie about the stingiest creature on the face of this planet ?

    1. Everyone minimises their tax, some are amateurs, some are professionals.

      1. ofcourse they do, but paying 1 mill for 300mill ? Come on

        1. Which is why they’re in the professional bracket. Though they’re not as professional as some other companies. In Australia, Google paid $74k last yr, from over $1bil revenue. Starbucks hasn’t paid any tax in Aus for 13yrs straight.

          1. It has nothing to do with “professionalism” and more to do with bribing, or putting it more politely “lobbying” politicians. Year after year they are creating legislations designed for that very purpose, redistributing wealth upwards, from us to them. If I had politicians doing my bidding, I could be a “professional” too.

          2. @maroonjack what they do is probably legal. But the fact it’s legal, it doesn’t mean it’s correct.

            On the other hand, it probably has cost F1 more than 3 millions is service fees, big four (E&Y, Delloite, KPMG, PwC) don’t come cheap…

          3. @jcost Oh it’s definitely legal. I have no doubts about it, but we live in a system of legalized bribery. The question is: should it be legal?

            It probably has cost F1 more than 3 millions is service fees.

            Certainly, but we shouldn’t mix the income tax with the cost of running a business. These are two completely different things.

      2. To put it bluntly: it’s just stealing. It’s shifting the tax burden onto the regular middle class people. Corporations which pay close to 0% in taxes, effectively make all of us pay more. Governments have to tax someone to be able to operate. They create exemptions and loopholes for their corporate donors, but they reach to our pockets to compensate.

        1. @maroonjack – agreed. and the worst aspect of the entire corrupt & rigged system is that they’ve conditioned millions of useful idiots to think, act and vote against their own economic interests, and in support of plutocrats and rapacious global corporations. ex. = @dane-1 here, who thinks Google and Starbucks’ shameful tax minimization strategies, which are enabled by corrupt legislators and regulators across the globe, are worthy of praise as “professional.”

          1. @joepa No, I wasnt praising them. I was merely pointing out the more professional their advice is, the more they can minimise their tax. As we all do.

        2. To be fair, all costs runs down to the end consumer. If companies pay more (for anything, not only taxes) it will cost the person who buys their product more. Hate it but true.

          1. Not quite. It’s a common misconception, because an average person treats his/her taxes as costs. After paying your taxes you still have to pay your bills and feed your family, so you can go under because of high taxes. Companies calculate their taxes after paying the costs and turning profits.

            So, taxes are paid on INCOME, they are not part of the COSTS. First a company suffers all the expenses, then it turns a profit, and then pays the taxes. Taxes will reduce the profit, but you can do whatever you want with this money, because you already suffered all the costs. You can invest it, or you can give yourself a nice fat bonus (because your regular salary was also part of the costs of running the company).

            If we’re talking about shifting the costs down to the end consumer, we also have to remember that there is a “sweet spot” for the price of every product or service. Too low, and you’re wasting your potential. Too high and you start losing customers.

            Let’s say a corporation has a good business model, generates nice turnover and the price of their product is already at the “sweet spot”. If they are forced to pay their taxes like everyone else, they will STILL be making profit. If they increase the price, they’ll start losing customers and income. So at this point the easy way to make more money is to cheat, buy some politicians and get rid of the taxes.

          2. RaceProUK (@)
            24th July 2013, 9:54

            @maroonjack – All companies exist to maximise profit. If a company’s tax bill were to suddenly increase by a significant amount, then they *will* raise prices to recover some of those lost profits. To believe otherwise is naïve at best.

          3. @raceprouk The mechanism simply doesn’t work like that. If your price is already set at an optimum level, if you’re already maximizing your profits, then raising prices of your goods/services, will inevitably hurt your bottom line.

            The only way it can possibly work is if you have a monopoly on your product. If you don’t, then you will try to keep prices lower than your competition, while still turning a profit. And your ability to turn a profit, as a company, is independent from your income tax.

          4. RaceProUK (@)
            24th July 2013, 10:14

            @maroonjack – That’s an over-simplistic view. Prices for a lot items fluctuate over time, sometimes dropping, but usually rising. No company is stupid enough to slap a 10%+ increase on their prices, but they will apply several smaller increases that ultimately have the same effect. If the increases are small enough, consumers won’t even notice.

          5. @raceprouk I’m simplifying it to showcase the underlying mechanisms, but your viewpoint is not only simplistic, but shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the issue. It just isn’t how the market works.

            Let’s say we’re a big corporation. Let’s say we’re The Coca-Cola Company. We figured out the optimum price for our products and we’re turning nice, consistent profits. If we charge less, we’ll undersell ourselves. If we charge more, we’ll start losing customers to PepsiCo and other soda companies.

            Now let’s say that governments decide to increase our income tax. Guess what. We should stay at our old prices. If we raise them, some of our clients will immediately go to the competition. Even if we raise them by a small amount, consumers will notice and some will choose Pepsi over us. However if we see others racking up their prices because of the income tax increase, we’ll smile, keep it steady and wait for more customers coming our way.

            Heck, we can even create some jobs while trying to accommodate increased demand. There goes another myth, by the way: higher income tax stopping corporations from hiring people. If new employees can generate turnover for us while our real income tax is close to 0% they will still generate turnover if the tax is at 30%.

            Of course the prices will fluctuate, but we have to watch the market and react accordingly. And yes, over time we will increase our prices, but that’s a completely unrelated to our income tax.

          6. RaceProUK (@)
            24th July 2013, 11:12

            @maroonjack – Your faith in the decency of corporations is admirable, but misplaced. Corporations don’t answer to the consumer, they answer to shareholders, and shareholders only care about one thing – money. Your assertion that a rise in tax is irrelevant to profits is also mistaken, as higher taxes will mean lower net profits. Since the tax burden won’t be reducible, the only option is to increase profits, and that means increasing prices. Again, this is what is required to keep the shareholders happy.
            You’re also confusing corporation tax (paid by companies on profits) with income tax (paid by individuals on wages/salary). Raising income tax to 30% won’t affect a company’s bottom line unless they pay increased wages. You’d have to raise corporation tax instead, and if you do that, then those very same corporations will just up sticks and move. Why would they move? Because the shareholders will demand it.

            Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying your points are invalid; several of those points I fully agree with. My argument is basically that, for corporations, the priorities are shareholders first, customers second. And that means, ultimately, raising prices to maximise net profits.

          7. @raceprouk I have no faith in their decency, but no company will willingly shot itself in the foot. Raising prices does NOT necessarily increase profits. That’s the whole point. The prices would not go up “just cause they’re greedy”. Yes, they are greedy as hell, but they will do what’s best for their bottom line.

            I’m not confusing anything, but in case it wasn’t clear: when I say income tax in the context of corporate profits I mean corporate income tax. I thought it was fairly clear.

            BTW, while the consumer is dead last, quite often shareholders have little to say in how the company is run, and they lose money while CEO’s get nice bonuses. But that’s a whole another subject and I think we went quite far with this off-topic as is.

        3. I don’t think it’s stealing, when people who make the budget or other policies belong in a circus or some talk-show rather than running the country. Such a waste.

          I wish all paid 0% if they could get away with it, so things got so bad, that those clowns would finally be exposed and jailed for treason. Even corporations protect their shareholders.

          And don’t start me on, oh they do have some good policies sometimes. Tell int to your employer, that sometimes you do good job, but your main occupation is point fingers at others and talk all day about things you have absolute no competence in – and of course – getting things done, sometimes.

          1. Wow – you just described my job.

      3. Private citizens and are always more efficient with their own money anyway.
        Govt’s just waste… so this “tax avoidance” is probably going along way towards creating more jobs than any Govt could ever achieve.

      4. Yes, it’s like this with pretty much every medium to big company.

    2. Probably an argument for an economic site but the easiest way to have a tax system is just make a flat sales tax

      20-30% on goods and services.

      No income tax, no payroll tax.

      Just a flat sales tax.

      Gets rid of expensive complexities and no one can dodge it.

    3. Obviously F1 itself is accustomed to finding loopholes in the rulebook – I think that’s brilliant how they manage that!

  2. That;s a strange coincidence – I just wrote a big report on transfer pricing last week which is the system being used by F1 who make lots of money through a UK subsidiary but transfer the profits to a subsidiary based in a low taxation area – ie Luxembourg.

    F1 teams often argue that their new pieces of bodywork and aerodynamics aren’t illegal because of the way they read the rules and interpreted the rules – looks like the holding company does the exact same with regards to financial rules in the UK!

  3. It really annoys me that nearly a fifth of my wage is instantly taken away due to tax, and then an organisation, which makes a significantly larger sum only pays 0.3%, whether it’s a technicality or not, it is just pathetic. I love F1, but they don’t need to be so greedy and corrupt. It just paints the whole thing in a bad light.

    1. It really annoys me that nearly a fifth of my wage is instantly taken away due to tax

      Don’t move to a different country then as in virtually other countries you would be super-annoyed!

    2. It’s normal. Big companies have big money so they attract biggest lawyers who help them to circumvent the law (other companies such as Barclays and Apple do it too), using low-tax zones such as Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Channel Islands.
      So I don’t think FOM is, or should be, different. If you’re not going to work knowing that workers get screwed over while big corporations bask in untaxed riches, you are deluded.

      1. It’s normal.

        @einariliyev – The fact that a certain behavior is common does not negate its being corrupt. Indeed, as is true for government abuses generally, those in power rely on the willingness of citizens to be trained to view corrupt acts as so common that they become inured, numb, to its wrongfulness. Once a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people’s minds from something objectionable into something acceptable.

        Indeed, many people believe it demonstrates their worldly sophistication to express indifference toward bad behavior by powerful actors on the ground that it is so prevalent. This cynicism – oh, don’t be naive: this is done all the time – is precisely what enables such destructive behavior to thrive unchallenged.

      2. PaulIs Ireland really a low tax zone?

    3. Nothing bad going on here – if you want to make companies (or high net worth individuals) pay tax, lower it. Otherwise it’s pretty damn obvious they’ll move somewhere else if they’ll large enough.

      1. @victor

        if you want to make companies (or high net worth individuals) pay tax, lower it.

        I don’t think that would work. If a company has a choice between paying X amount of tax, or hiring tax lawyers at a cost of Y and paying Z amount of tax, then they will continue to avoid paying the correct amount of tax as long as Y + Z < X. The only way for governments to make companies pay the correct amount of tax is to toughen the regulations to make it harder for them to find get-outs and exploit loopholes. And that's far easier said than done.

        1. @keithcollantine

          Do both. Closing loopholes is essentially saying that you want the law you’ve created to take effect. But at least try to create some tax competition. You won’t be able to compete with tax havens (and you shouldn’t), but some entities – high net worth individuals in particular – I’m pretty sure want to pay tax in their home country and would if it were more feasible.

      2. @victor I am with you here. Keep those taxes low, between 5 and 10% and almost everyone will see no interest in avoiding it. The little that will do, it will be easier to punish them hard so there will be no second thoughts.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          24th July 2013, 9:57

          CVC paid 0.3% tax. Lowering the tax rate to 5% won’t suddenly make CVC pay their full tax burden, they’d still work out how to pay 0.3%.

    4. I used to feel the same way as you, that it isn’t fair how my wages are taxed. But recently I discovered a new outlook on it. The people in charge of F1 as well as most other wealthy organizations have a very high financial IQ. They know the ins and outs of all tax laws, and they take advantage of them. As much as I used to believe they were just greedy, I now view them as smart. If there is a way of lowering tax legally, then why not take it.
      All through school we are taught to get good grades, find a good job, pay our bills and taxes. The schools don’t teach us how the tax laws really work, they don’t teach us how to truly manage our money.
      If you look at the history of taxes, they should not even exist, but they do because of governments. My point in all this is that you should not blame people for being smart regarding avoiding taxes because it the government that forces them to have to search out ways to avoid taxes.
      If you study how money works, then you could save a ton on taxes as well.

    5. It really annoys me that nearly a fifth of my wage is instantly taken away due to tax

      Nearly a fifth?? Wow, that look like tax evasion to me.

      I’ve lost half by the time it’s in my bank account!

      1. I don’t earn enough to pay any, but my work place still has me on a basic rate tax code.

  4. I get annoyed by all these Guardian “revelations” on various multinational corporations don’t pay a lot of taxes, in particular given that they somehow portray this as morally wrong even when tax laws are complied with. If it is legal, the companies actually don’t have much choice as shareholders might otherwise be able to file suit if a PLC pays more taxes than necessary.

    The problem are the tax loopholes, so instead of going on and on about individual companies, they should explain the loopholes and put pressure on parliamentarians to close those loopholes.

    1. Regular articles, featuring real corporations and real facts and figures, educates the public and puts the pressure on parliamenterians to close those loopholes, much more so than a single article about hypothetical corporations and taxes.

      1. well written @hohum. Lets not forget that its only legal until governments change the rules to make this not only morally dodgy but illegal as well!

      2. @hohum I am not sure. OK, note that F1 pays hardly any taxes. However, the articles should make it much more clear that this is entirely legal, and that laws were made on purpose allowing these schemes. They then need to point to the inaction of the various governments.

        1. @mike-dee, when you say it is legal are you absolutely positively sure that it would pass a challenge in the Supreme Court ? It seems to me that it is legal only if the debt is to a real seperate entity, if however a court were to decide on the principal of “beneficial ownership” that the payee and the payor were in fact one and the same and therefore the transactions were merely a device to evade payment of tax then it would not be legal, it would in fact be tax fraud, other tax evasion schemes involving “shelf” companies in foreign tax havens have gone from “legal” to “fraud” on this principal.

          @maroonjack, excellent writing above. @bascb, thankyou.

          1. @hohum

            I am not a tax lawyer, but I am sure that if the state could raise money under the current law by disallowing these loophole schemes, I am sure they would have done so.

      3. lol, and you trust newspapers to post real facts and figures? or to twist the numbers to make a headline? No wonder this country is going down the drain when people are getting their “education” from newspapers.

    2. I get annoyed by all these Guardian “revelations”

      It’s an Independent exclusive :P

  5. If people don’t like the way the taxes are handled, Fight to have the law changed.

    What F1 is doing is perfectly legal (And encouraged in some cases), So until the laws are changed or tax system simplified then companies will continue to use the loopholes & other legal means to cut the tax bill.

    If the politicians & legal people think this is all so wrong (I know they have not said anything specifically about F1 yet), Change it but to whine & complain about how immoral it is (As David Cameron has in other cases such as with Jimmy Carr & others) while at the same time not seriously pushing for changes is frankly hypocritical & done for no other reason than to win votes.

    1. Indeed, its people like Cameron who are the ones that CAN change it if they really want. Stop complaining, start acting.

    2. Actually, one country changing its tax laws would just move the corporations out of there. You would need the complete EU or G20 to hammer down on corporate taxes to really get to a point where these tax games come to an end.

      Let’s not forget corporations fund political campaigns and lobbies as well. We’re all a lot less powerful as voters within the current system than we’d like to admit. But a system overhaul is too far out of our collective comfort zone to really do something about it.

      1. @npf1

        Actually, one country changing its tax laws would just move the corporations out of there.

        That’s precisely why I wouldn’t make the complaints so vocal. The benefits of F1 being based in the UK are highlighted in the article:

        Despite not paying much tax, the UK benefits tremendously from companies connected to F1 being based in the country. The teams, engine manufacturers, track and F1 itself employ 5,243 people and spend billions with UK businesses which do pay tax, so the HMRC wins in the end.

        1. @vettel1 Max, we need to differentiate between, F1 as the industry mostly based in the UK and F1 the marketing company which is the main subject of this article and is probably officially based in Bernies home to allow him a tax break. The actual industry of F1 is lucky if it can pay wages and avoid receivership so paying tax is a problem they don’t have.

  6. Ecclestone Mr. Burns: Why haven’t I heard of this “The Leader”? He’s as rich and wicked as I, but he seems to enjoy tax exempt status!
    Smithers: Actually, sir, with our creative book-keeping and corporate loop holes we only pay three dollars a year.
    Ecclestone Mr. Burns: You’re right, we’re getting screwed!

    1. Great one, with the punchline delivered at the right time. :)

  7. Who asked that question (in the photo), Michelle Yeoh?

    1. french ass wins!

  8. No big surprise in F1 paying so little in tax.

    All the big companys do it. The tax laws, in fact any law, is full of loop holes. Just like how a good defence attorney can get a murderer to walk free, these guys do pretty much the same thing, find a loop hole and exploit it. They’ve almost made an art form out of it.

  9. Agree with Paul Di Resta completely. You only have to watch a qalifying onboard clip to sense the beautiful symphony of the v10 . LOL on the f1fanatic tweet :D

  10. Who has the better ass? Ecclestone or Todt?

    1. @david-a are any of them known to own donkeys?

      1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
        24th July 2013, 17:17

        Webber owns a couple of donkey – iirc.. =)

        1. @il-ferrarista if only he were an option… ;)

  11. As an employee, one earn 150.000€ and pays 70.000€ of taxes. A company earn 300.000 Million € and pays almost nothing…

    We need a new Robin Hood!!!

    1. I’m pretty sure he’d be prosecuted and put away before grabbing headlines. We need to change a system, something we haven’t done in generations or this globally.

  12. austria already has 2 90degree corners and 2 long straights….

    Ok track tho. Good too see it back.

  13. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    24th July 2013, 13:14

    Find it disgusting how little tax the F1 fraternity pay. Not just the company itself but the drivers too, why is it the more you money you earn the less tax you feel you are entitled to pay.

    1. Not so much that they feel entitled to pay less, Its just that when you earn big bucks you then tend to feel the need to hire accountants & its often these companies who inform you about & arrange the actual tax payment arrangements.
      I doubt Bernie or CVC are sitting there going through all the revenue sheets working out how little tax they can get away with paying, Its all handled by an outside firm.

      Those who are not so well off have to handle there finances themselfs & not knowing the tax laws inside out just pay what there asked to without asking questions.

      1. Thanks for a very level headed response to the issue @GT_Racer! I too doubt there’s much in the way of entitlement and far more of just doing what they can (or having done what is offered) from big companies paying (far too) little taxes.

  14. Something must be afoot at F1 HQ.

    Not until the last few weeks have I ever read anything that suggests Bernie Ecclestone might be anything other than virgin white when it comes to business deals or where he first made his money back in the 60s. His remarks about women and Hitler notwithstanding (and which would be more than enough to remove any other CEO from an international organization), no one has ever dared to criticize this billionaire, nor make any suggestion of impropriety. Yet recently there have been numerous (unattributed) quotes and “suggestions” about Bernie’s history that in the past would surely have been responded to with either a ruinous law suit, or by being shut out of F1 (no more passes, no interviews, no access to anyone in F1) or both.

    It seems to me that Bernie’s days as F1 supremo are rapidly coming to an end. Even if the pending court case comes to nothing, I cannot believe that CVC and the other F1 stakeholders are happy for events to decide things. Contingency plans must be afoot – especially when you think that for those in their 80s some contingencies loom more imminently than others.

    Bernie does not have a deputy – he runs a dictatorship, not a democracy – so given the possibility of his “sudden departure”, the teams, CVC, and others must be wondering what should happen now to avoid a power vacuum and the uncertainty that would create.

    The boss of F1’s commercial side should be elected – by all the stakeholders – and the job should have a pre-defined term. The post should also be supported by a deputy.

    After this weekend there is a clear month of F1 shutdown. A good opportunity for Bernie to step aside and F1 to put its house in order?

    1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
      24th July 2013, 17:20


  15. Lol the old company tax debate; the shareholders pay tax on their dividends, the employees pay tax on their wages, despite what the papers say the system really isn’t that broken.

  16. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
    24th July 2013, 20:21

    I think more alarming that the tax issue (and that is very alarming in my view) is the fact that FOM made a £300 million profit whereas the teams who employ the people, drive the R&D, create the heroes and put on the show are struggling to survive.
    The teams know they are being taken advantage of but don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. Its ‘divide and rule’ strategy at its most blatant and it is very sad. When will this change or will it ever change?

    1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
      24th July 2013, 21:41

      Well didn’t FOTA threat FOM in 2009? I mean, FOTA caused massive instabilty and shaked FOM during their fight in second part of 09. Or was it about money really, or something else?

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