Artists, influencers and athletes: differences and similarities in tax law

In principle, artists, influencers and athletes are entrepreneurs like many others. But their names and their network can have considerable economic value, depending on their level of recognition. For them, obtaining good counsel in tax and legal matters is vital, as the scope is broad and complex. Mazars in Germany has developed a multi-disciplinary consulting approach to ensure they meet their legal obligations as well as society’s expectations.

The successful professional careers of artists, influencers and athletes often inevitably place them in the spotlight of public reporting and social perception. If advertising contracts are involved, this effect is further magnified. And with the level of recognition the amount and the kind of payment grows and changes as well: Initially the consideration from sponsors or companies for advertising is limited to products and goods, but the more famous artists, influencers and athletes get, the more money companies are prepared to pay.

Successful professional artists, influencers and athletes build up considerable assets, the management of which can again lead to further income (and types of income). We fully prepare our clients so that they can ultimately say with conviction: “I pay my fair share”, especially when it comes to tax and legal matters.

Why different tax approaches are necessary

While the income of artists, influencers and athletes is generated to a degree with their own hands-on work, the notoriety created by practising their profession, the name associated with it and/or through a (social) network, there are some differences between them that have to be taken into account when it comes to paying taxes. For example:

  • As a rule club athletes are employees, while individual athletes are usually self-employed, just like influencers and most artists.
  • In addition to their sporting/artistic activities, professional athletes and artists can generate income from advertising contracts, while the work of influencers primarily consists of providing advertising services.
  • The essential content of advertising contracts for athletes lies almost exclusively in the granting of a right to use the name and personality. The professional sportsperson remains passive; he or she merely allows his or her name and image to be used for a certain campaign.
  • Influencers, on the other hand, generate substantial income from their own use of their (social) networks/followers. They are contractors of companies, i. e. for their advertising campaigns.

What we offer

Our team provides versatile solutions and thought leadership in tailormade cross-border consulting, including tax filings, structuring and contractual advisory and is made up of top-class experts from the partnership at Mazars in Germany.

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