Sunday, January 28, 2007


There have been a number of articles recently about the business dealings of Bono and U2. All the articles essentially call the band hypocritical for structuring their business affairs to minimize taxes:

Bono's own dealings haven't always followed the altruistic ideals he espouses, says Richard Murphy, a Downham Market, U.K.- based adviser to the Tax Justice Network, an international lobbying group.

Minimizing Taxes

Murphy points to the band's decision to move its music publishing company to the Netherlands from Ireland in June 2006 in order to minimize taxes. The move came six months before Ireland ended an exemption on musicians' royalty income, which is generally untaxed in the Netherlands.

``This is somebody who's exceptionally rich taking the opportunity to shift his tax burden to somebody else, but then asking governments around the world to spend that tax take in the way that he would like,'' Murphy says.

U2's move to the Netherlands is wrong, says Dick Molenaar, senior partner at All Arts Tax Advisers, a Rotterdam-based tax consulting firm for artists and musicians. ``Everybody needs to pay his fair share of taxation to the government, and therefore we have roads and education and everything,'' he says.

I saw the band on their latest tour and admire Bono for his pragmatic activism. I don't think there is any conflict between what he does for the various causes he represents and how he structures his businesses. One can be a good capitalist and also be a good person concerned about the state of the world. I'd rather see him keep his hard earned money and be involved than for him to pay more taxes and be less involved.

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