Shakira Tax Troubles: Residence vs Domicile

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 – I recently wrote about the residency vs domicile question for Illinois residents moving to Florida. These taxing authorities do not acquiesce to taxpayers’ stated residency. They do not want to let the tax dollars go to any other jurisdiction. If you want to go to a low-tax State from a high-tax state – be prepared for the State to object.

In that vein: Pop superstar Shakira has avoided potential imprisonment by striking a last-minute deal on the opening day of her tax fraud trial in Barcelona. After nearly five years of maintaining her innocence, she admitted to six counts of failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($15.8 million) in Spanish taxes between 2012 and 2014. The trial, anticipated to last weeks with over 100 witnesses, ended within eight minutes.

Shakira agreed to a suspended three-year sentence and a 7.3 million euro ($8 million) fine, along with unpaid taxes and interest. A guilty verdict for tax fraud is now on her legal record, impacting another ongoing tax case.

The case revolved around her residence during 2012-14, with prosecutors arguing she spent sufficient time in Spain to warrant paying taxes on her global income, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas, where taxes are lower. Spain has pursued high-profile tax evasion cases. And will pursue more, I’m sure.

The Spanish Government alleged fraud – and threatened to imprison Shakira. Even if she believed she was innocent, it’s hard to face jail time if you lose. Innocent people go to jail all the time.

Steven A. Leahy is a tax attorney in Illinois. He was the host of the long-running popular Radio Show “The IRS Radio Hour” heard every Sunday evening on AM 560 The Answer. Attorney Leahy is also the author of the book “Deal With Your IRS Problems Today!” You can get a FREE copy of this important book at Or Call 24/7 (312)664-6649

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