Thursday, October 4, 2007

When Tax Planning Rocks: How the Rolling Stones Went Dutch to Cut Taxes

Even before Mick Jagger figured out how to make money as an internationally-acclaimed rock star, he figured out how to keep it.

It is well-known that the pre-famous Jagger attended the London School of Economics—but this is usually regarded as little more than an ornamental bit of evidence about Jagger’s natural intelligence. What few people realize is that Jagger spent his time at the LSE majoring in accounting—and that this early training has returned spectacular dividends to Jagger and two of the other founding members of the Rolling Stones. (Ron Wood manages his wealth separately.)

Jagger was instrumental (no pun intended) in structuring one of the earliest and most sophisticated international song-licensing arrangements in the history of the music industry. Credible reports indicate that the Rolling Stones have earned $450 million in song licensing royalties over the past twenty years—and that the effective tax rate paid by band members on these earnings is a startlingly miniscule 1.5 percent.


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