Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.
A chartered jumbo jet with a specially painted nose. Our Olympic heroes returned in some style to the UK, and with some excess baggage to declare in the shape of 67 medals made of precious metals. So will we be paying our import duties in cash or debit, sirs and madams?
Thousands turned out at Heathrow to welcome back Team GB. We think that deserves a medal. Turning out at Heathrow, that is.
We also wonder how many athletes were told, back in Rio, in Portuguese accented English: “I’m sorry, you can’t take that fencing sabre on board,” or “I’m afraid that kayak will have to go in the hold, and it’s outwith your baggage allowance so I’ll have to charge you extra.”
Excess travelling costs, especially where business equipment is concerned, is as irritating as finding your speedo drawstring has just snapped as you’re walking out on to the ten metre board for that gold medal dive. Which isn’t, we’re told, what happened to Tom Daley.
We can’t do unexpected swimwear repairs at Springfords, but we can tell you the types of travel costs you can claim back from HMRC. We’ll help you account for things like excess baggage, ground transfers to the town centre that cost more than the trans-oceanic flight, and unexpected import duties. The latter not so much a problem for Olympic athletes, unless you’re American, returning to America, with a gold medal around your neck, in which case, there’s a tax on victory.
Through their sports bodies, most countries make a cash award to Olympic medalists. Some countries make successful athletes rather wealthy. It’s profitable to be Singaporean and on the podium. Some are more modest, and some, like the USA, are just about as generous as decorum allows, with awards ranging from $25,000 for gold, down to $10,000 for bronze.
However, in common with only a few other countries, the American’s tax their athletes on these awards. The further, higher stronger you are, the more you pay - rather like a poll tax for people who run and swim fast.
Reportedly, that puts America in an exclusive club, along with sporting superpowers like The Philippines and Eritrea, who require you to fill out your tax return as part of your warm down lap. Even the actual medals themselves attract a tax charge in the eyes of the US authorities. What a drag if you’re weighed down with multiple gongs like Mike Phelps or Simone Biles, the diminutive gymnast with more treasure round her neck than Jack Sparrow.
Fortunately for Team GB, exemptions are in place, and their winning medal awards are not chargeable to tax. However, our own Olympians don’t receive any lucrative cash bonus for winning medals - the UK Government believe winning athletes get plenty monetary reward through their corporate sponsorships, speaker circuits etc.. Perhaps they’re right - or perhaps that diving pool was green with envy at the thought of other country’s athletes winnings!