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Pop Eye

June 14, 1998|Dave Jennings, from London

GIMME TAX SHELTER: The Rolling Stones appear to be standing alone among British pop stars in their exile from taxdom, refusing to perform in their homeland due to changes in tax laws that they claim would result in their entire European tour losing money.

The changes closed a loophole allowing people working largely out of the U.K. to not pay taxes on that income. Under the new law, by playing dates that had been planned for August, the Stones would be liable for taxes on all the shows they're performing this year. Consequently, they've postponed the British swing to next summer, a year when there are no plans for extensive touring elsewhere.

Perhaps mindful that the Stones have received a publicity bashing in England this week--one headline read, "No Sympathy for the Rich Devils"--others in potentially similar situations are not altering plans for U.K. shows. The Spice Girls, for example, are officially tax exiles, but their representatives insist they will not cancel upcoming concerts, despite a reported tax burden for the four remaining members of about $25 million. The only other act of comparable commercial stature in Britain, Oasis, is unaffected by the law. As loyal supporters of Prime Minister Tony Blair, the band declined the option of establishing tax exile in the first place.

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