Rolling Stones get their shelter

Stephen Beard Aug 2, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: A Rolling Stone gathers no moss. And apparently doesn’t pay much in taxes, either. Details of the British rock group’s financial affairs have just been made public, as Stephen Beard reports from London.

STEPHEN BEARD: The image may be rebellious and unkempt, but the reality is that the Rolling Stones are very smart when it comes to money. On worldwide earnings of $150 million last year they paid just 1.5 percent in tax.

The details have emerged under Dutch law. The band’s financial advisers apparently have offices in a Dutch tax haven. The lightness of the Stones’ tax burden is not a surprise, says former rock musician Neil MacCormick:

NEIL MACCORMICK: They’re a big machine. They’ve probably learned the hard way, and learned on the road how to protect their money.

He says world tours are usually organized according to tax rules, with a band rarely appearing for longer than 30 days in each country.

“Gimme Shelter,” sang the Stones. Now we know what they really meant.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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