Colombia’s Top-Scoring Soccer Star Balks at National Wealth Tax

(Bloomberg) -- The top scorer in the history of Colombia’s national team is coming home, but only for six months because he doesn’t want to pay the nation’s wealth tax.

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After a career that included stints at Atletico de Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United, striker Radamel Falcao Garcia is joining Millonarios FC, the Bogota-based club he supported as a child.

But Falcao, 38, said that despite his love for the club, he’ll only stick around for six months to avoid being on the hook for a 1.5% tax on his global assets.

The wealth tax “had a very strong impact that prevented me from continuing,” Falcao said Friday, in an interview with W Radio.

Colombia is one of a handful of countries that imposes a tax on personal net wealth. Individuals become liable for a levy of 0.5% on net wealth that exceeds the equivalent of about $820,000, rising to 1.5% on assets above $2.7 million.

The Andean nation has imposed wealth taxes on and off for decades. But after he took office in 2022, President Gustavo Petro passed a bill that made it permanent.

As of 2020, France, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland were the only other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that imposed such a levy, according to a report by the Tax Foundation.

In his prime, Falcao was one of the world’s top-paid soccer stars, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per week. To be resident in Colombia for tax purposes, he would have to spend 183 days or more in the country.

He would also become liable were his wife or children to spend that amount of time in the country, whether consecutive or not, or if more than half his assets was there, according to Eric Thompson, a tax lawyer at Bogota-based firm Cañón Thompson.

Falcao’s current fiscal residence is in Spain, according to Enrique Camacho, CEO of Millonarios.

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