Colombian singer Shakira has reached a settlement with Spanish authorities, ending a high-profile tax evasion case involving €14.5 million ($15.7 million) in income earned between 2012 and 2014. The case was set to begin on November 20, 2023, and Shakira was accused of defrauding the Spanish state of €17.5 million ($19 million), encompassing taxes owed, accrued interest, and a fine of €7.3 million ($8 million). The settlement spared Shakira from the potential eight-year prison sentence that prosecutors had sought. Instead, she would pay daily fines of approximately $437 for the duration of a hypothetical three-year sentence, totaling just over $470,000. The court proceedings were brief, lasting only around 10 minutes, and Shakira Resolves Tax Suit confirmed her awareness of the deal and the agreed-upon fines. The core of the legal dispute revolved around whether Shakira spent the required number of days in Spain to be considered a tax resident. The settlement allows Shakira to focus on her flourishing music career, highlighting the complexities and challenges faced by high-profile individuals navigating international tax laws.
Swift Resolution and Financial Settlement
In an unexpected turn of events, Shakira opted to settle the case before the trial commenced. The Barcelona prosecutor’s office released a statement confirming that the singer admitted to the charges and agreed to pay the entire owed amount along with an additional fine. The total sum Shakira paid amounts to €17.5 million ($19 million), encompassing the taxes owed, accrued interest, and a fine of €7.3 million ($8 million).
This resolution spared Shakira from the potential eight-year prison sentence that prosecutors had sought. Instead, the settlement outlined that she would pay daily fines of approximately $437 for the duration of a hypothetical three-year sentence, totaling just over $470,000.
Brief Court Proceedings
The court proceedings on Monday were brief, lasting only around 10 minutes. The presiding judge announced a last-minute agreement submitted by all parties to avoid a protracted trial. Shakira confirmed her awareness of the deal and the agreed-upon fines during this short session.
A statement released by Shakira Resolves Tax Evasion Suit team shortly after the court proceedings explained that her legal team had reached an agreement, effectively putting an end to the tax case that spanned the years between 2012 and 2014.
In her official statement, Shakira expressed her initial willingness to face trial and defend her innocence. However, she concluded that winning at the expense of sacrificing years of her life was not a triumph. The global superstar outlined the two options she perceived: continue fighting, jeopardizing her peace of mind and that of her children, hindering her ability to create music and tour, or opt for an agreement that would allow her to close this chapter and look forward to the future.
The artist emphasized the toll the legal battle had taken on her personal and professional life, stating, “I had two options: keep fighting until the end, taking my peace of mind and that of my children, stop making songs, albums and tours, without being able to enjoy my career and the things I like; or agree, close and leave this chapter of my life behind, looking forward (to the future).”
Disputed Allegations and Spain’s Tax Code
The core of the legal dispute revolved around whether Shakira spent the required number of days in Spain to be considered a tax resident. Spanish prosecutors asserted that she failed to pay personal income and wealth tax between 2012 and 2014, totaling around $15.6 million.
In a 2021 ruling, Judge Marco Jesús Juberías determined that Shakira had indeed resided in Spain for more than 200 days in each of those three years, making her liable to pay taxes according to Spain’s tax code. The code dictates that anyone residing in the country for at least 183 days in a given year is obligated to pay taxes.
Shakira Resolves Tax Suit vehemently disputed these allegations, labeling them as “false” in a September 2022 interview with Elle magazine. She claimed that she did not spend the required number of days in Spain and asserted that she had already paid the alleged dues even before the lawsuit was filed.
With the tax evasion case now settled, Shakira can shift her focus back to her flourishing music career. The legal resolution not only brings closure to a tumultuous chapter in the artist’s life but also underscores the complexities and challenges faced by high-profile individuals navigating international tax laws. As fans eagerly anticipate Shakira’s future projects, this legal saga serves as a reminder of the scrutiny and legal pitfalls that accompany global success.