Colombian singer Shakira recently handed over a staggering $25 million to settle a tax debt with the Spanish government. Shakira – whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll – has been embroiled in a tax dispute with the Spanish government since last year.
Spanish authorities called for an investigation into Shakira’s financial affairs for a four-year period spanning 2011 to 2014, alleging that she may have failed to meet all her tax obligations to the country. Specifically, authorities reportedly sought to establish whether the singer legally resided in Spain with Spanish football player Gerard Piqué, her longtime boyfriend. Spanish law stipulates that if an individual spends more than 183 days within the country, then he or she is automatically a Spanish resident for tax purposes; this means the individual is always liable to pay the Spanish government taxes on all international income.
Tax authorities have reportedly gone to extraordinary measures to establish her place of residence during the years in question – including allegedly interviewing her hairstylist and studying paparazzi photos to ascertain when she was in Spain. Shakira has reportedly hired auditing firm PwC for support in the ongoing case.
While Shakira claims that she spent the majority of her time during the 2011 – 2014 investigation period in the Bahamas at her listed residence, the Spanish Tax Agency maintains that she was living in Spain during this time, and therefore should have paid income tax to the Spanish government on all income earned worldwide during the period in question. Shakira did eventually establish residency in Barcelona in 2015; she currently resides there with Piqué and their two children.
The amount Shakira recently paid to Spanish authorities is reported to cover her tax debt for 2011. This 2011 dispute technically fell beyond the bounds of the prosecution time limit, and therefore could only be settled with an administrative proceeding. However, Shakira’s residency and tax liabilities between 2012 and 2014 remain under investigation by the Spanish Tax Agency. Once this investigation is complete, the government will decide whether to bring charges for tax fraud against Shakira and if the case should proceed to court. An outcome on this case is reportedly expected sometime in early summer.