Not only the opposition has been battering the West Indies, but the tax man has hit them hard in Australia and New Zealand as well.
It is understood that on the morning of their match against South Africa last week, members of the entire squad received their pay slip in Sydney with the news that 32.5% of their earnings made from the cricket World Cup would be deducted in taxes to the Australian government.
Normally the West Indies cricketers are exempted from paying taxes but under Australian laws, they won’t get away with it and have to pay for the duration of the ICC World Cup.
But what has been startling is that the taxes are also touching monies earned from their retainer contracts with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for the period that they are involved in this tournament.
The West Indies players are usually the only cricketers that do not have to pay taxes because the WICB is registered in the Cayman Islands which has leniency on taxes.
Some players claimed they were unaware of the development. But a source told the Express that they were notified of this via the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).
In a twist to this development, the players’ lawyer, Ralph Thorne, QC in Barbados says that his clients may have a case for recourse.
“Every government has the sovereign power and legal authority to tax the income of all persons for work performed within their borders or within their jurisdictional reach. It would therefore be difficult to challenge the imposition of a tax on income derived from working and playing matches while in the host country.
“However, there needs to be some further legal inquiry as to whether the host country may impose a tax on retainer contract fees that accrue beyond its jurisdictional reach. I would think it broadly touches powers relating to the concept of withholding tax and since the WICB is deducting the money on behalf of the appropriate taxing authority, I would urge the WICB to ask questions as to whether the tax may be imposed in relation to retainer contract fees.
“Until I am persuaded otherwise, I will argue that this income accrues beyond the jurisdictional reach of the host country and should perhaps not be the subject of any withholding tax regime,” he told the Express.
The Queens Counsel further advanced that he does not see this as any area for conflict between the WICB and the players. The last time the West Indies players had issues with finances they aborted their tour of India last October.