- Pop singer Shakira is facing charges of tax evasion in Spain for the second time, with allegations of failing to pay millions in taxes.
- Spanish prosecutors claim that Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence to avoid paying taxes while spending most of her time in Spain.
- Shakira's representatives deny the charges and state that she has always cooperated with the law and followed professional tax advice. She is confident in her innocence.
Mononymous pop singer Shakira has been charged with tax evasion in Spain, and it isn't the first time the star has encountered tax related problems.
In November 2022, TheRichest.com covered Shakira's previous brushes with charges related to tax fraud and evasion, reporting on prior charges filed in Spain:
"Shakira was first charged with tax evasion and fraud in December 2018. She allegedly failed to pay the Spanish government €14.5 million ($14 million USD) in taxes between 2012 to 2014. At the time, she allegedly listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes. But Spanish prosecutors claims she spent the majority of time in Spain with her then-partner Gerard Pique and their two sons. According to Spanish laws, anyone residing in the country for six months or more per year is considered a resident and must pay taxes."
In late September 2023, several outlets reported that Shakira had again been charged with tax evasion in Spain. According to the BBC, Spanish tax authorities began investigating Shakira in July of that year, but held off on disclosing the open investigation; the outlet added:
"Prosecutors in Spain allege the singer defrauded the state of €6.7m ($7.1m, £5.8m) in 2018. They say this happened when she failed to declare millions in advance payments for her El Dorado World Tour, among other payments."
In April, Shakira disclosed plans to move to Miami from Barcelona, following her split from former partner Gerard Pique. At the time, Shakira said of her decision to relocate to Florida:
"I settled in Barcelona to give my children a stability, the same we are now looking for in another corner of the world next to family, friends and the sea ... Today we start a new chapter in the pursuit of their happiness. Thank you to everyone who surfed alongside my many waves there in Barcelona, the city where I learned that friendship is certainly longer than love.”
On September 26th, news agency Reuters reported on Shakira's purportedly unpaid $7 million tax bill, explaining that the singer was accused of concealing revenues to avoid paying tax in Spain by stashing cash in offshore companies:
"In the [September 2023] case, the prosecutor alleges that in 2018, Shakira failed to declare profits of $12.5 million from an advance payment for her El Dorado World Tour, among others. At that time, she was in a relationship with FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique and living in the city with their two children. Prosecutors argue that she was resident in Spain and so required to tax all her worldwide revenues there, no matter where they were earned. Instead, they say, she diverted money to 'companies domiciled in countries with low taxation and high opacity.'"
Representatives for Shakira had yet to acknowledge the tax charges filed in Spain in September at press time. According to Fox News, Shakira's rep claimed their client was unfairly targeted by Spanish prosecutors in a prior statement to that outlet:
"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."
Shakira isn't the only celebrity to push back against tax authorities in 2023. In May, we reported on a lawsuit filed on behalf of Beyonce, against the United States' Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – in the suit, Beyonce disputed a $3 million IRS tax bill, asserting that "at least $868,766 of the money in dispute was donated to charity in 2018, and therefore qualifies as a tax deduction."
Shakira was expected to appear in court in Spain in November, for a trial in relation to the previous tax related charges. Prosecutors in Spain have requested a $25 million fine, and eight years of jail time should she be found guilty.