Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, also known as Neymar Jr., is finding himself in a lot of trouble. According to reports, the football (soccer) star earns 8.8 million Euros per year as a player for the Brazilian national team. He also serves as the team’s captain. The tax authorities are now claiming that he owes a full $15 million in taxes. Right now, the taxing authorities are looking to collect.
Neymar Jr., like so many other sports stars, has traded on his fame as an athlete to earn money in other endeavors. He became a “brand ambassador” for the online gaming entity PokerStars. The full details of this job are not available right now, but in a safe to say he is serving in the role of a product endorsement capacity. He, along with other top stars from the football world, have helped draw in a significant number of new players to the game of poker.
Neymar Jr. is 23 years old and has a following of young and old football fans. Not all of these fans are familiar with the game of poker. When they see their favorite sports hero endorsing the game of poker, they opt to give the classic card game in try. Through bringing in a number of players who otherwise were not reachable, Neymar Jr. greatly helps the online gaming industry. He also helps raise his own profile in other industries. If the football star becomes strongly associated with poker, he could have in many decade long career as a PokerStars spokesperson.
So, where did all his troubles with the taxman come from? The answer is “overseas”.
Based on a decision from a federal tax court in San Paulo, Brazil, the record indicates Neymar Jr. did not disclose all his income from sources from abroad. Both Neymar and his father, Neymar Santos Sr., are named in the judgment. The taxes owed are from the period of years 2011 through 2013. The judgment is fairly harsh as the courts are pushing to have the money owed to the government paid and paid in full as quickly as humanly possible. In order to “nudge” Neymar Jr. to pay the taxes right away, the court has frozen assets owned by him and his father. The full amount of the assets is in the range of $47.6 million.
Liens have been placed on the athlete’s personal properties. He cannot sell real estate, cars, or other items until the investigation is closed. This certainly puts the star athlete into a tough situation.
Tax troubles are common with a great many celebrities in the sports and entertainment industries. There are several reasons why tax avoidance and evasion issues arise. Neglect is one. Tax returns simply are not filed. Excessive deductions are taken. Income is not reported. Often, the celebrity ignores a current responsibility with the intention of setting things straight in the future. The taxing authorities are not known for their patience or allowing the taxpayer rewrite the rules. This is why so many celebrities (and private citizens out of the public eye) find themselves sitting in tax court. The government eventually takes steps to get its money.
Neymar Jr. has not gone public with any statements about his current tax woes. His parents, however, have made assessments in the press that everything is a “misunderstanding” surrounding the finances of the family. In other words, the parents are stating the court’s decision was incorrect. The public statement, essentially, states that no one tried to avoid paying any taxes.
Whether or not the judgment made by the court in San Paulo can or will be appealed remains to be seen. No one knows what the personal financial situation of Neymar Jr. and his family is. Would a $15 million judgment break him financially? No one can answer that question right now.
Tax controversies have surrounded the football star in the past. Neymar Jr. was transferred to the Barcelona football club, a club with tax issues. The president of the club, Josep Bartomeu, and the previous president, Sandro Rosell, faced charges of tax fraud. To be exact, the tax fraud was listed at being in the 9.4 million euro range.
Neymar Jr. also had to deal with some woes with a tax court judge. The judge has raised questions about the $4.9 million in assets Neymar Jr. declared on tax documents. It appears tax troubles seem to be doing nothing more than just continue to pile up. This is the way things play out when courts and tax authorities have problems with accounting figures.
What is PokerStars going to do in the aftermath of all this bad publicity? Is Neymar Jr. in danger of losing his ambassador position? PokerStars has not made any official decision yet. It would not be a stretch to state the company doesn’t want to be caught up in bad publicity. The tax woes of a major representative certainly do bring forth a huge amount of bad press.