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Rolling Stones got their shelter

Stephen Beard Aug 2, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: The Rolling Stones have always kept their financial affairs pretty secretive, but the band’s combined age is 248. So, Mick and Keith and the boys are drawing up their wills. They’re doing this in the Netherlands, a country that requires them to reveal their finances. And what’s making headlines is that the Stones have a shockingly low tax bill. 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 one and half percent in tax. The details have emerged under Dutch law. The band’s financial advisors 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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