Stones paid just 1.6% tax on £240m royalties

The Rolling Stones have paid just a fraction of their vast earnings in the last two decades to the taxman.

Records released in the Netherlands show that the band's tax bill on their earnings of $450m (£240m) was a mere $7.2m. The information came to light after the Stones decided to open two foundations in Holland to manage the rights to their music, performances, merchandise and films and to settle the question of ownership should one of them die. The registration for the two new foundations, which will control the rights to the Stones' royalties, revealed that the Stones had been putting all their royalties into the Netherlands since 1972.

The figures were from 20 years of annual reports for Promogroup, the fiscal mother company of the Stones in the Netherlands, where the tax rate is so low because there is no direct tax on royalties, unlike in other countries.

And the tax breaks are so good for the rockers that U2 have also now copied the Stones by moving to the same exclusive Amsterdam address on 1 June. The bands now share the same Dutch director, Jan Favie.

Details have leaked out because the Stones are preparing for their final curtain call - making their wills - and Dutch law requires certain information to be made public.

Germany's Die Welt newspaper reported on the extraordinary tax break that the band enjoyed through the use of offshore trusts and companies. It said the trio went Dutch in 1972 to have their millions managed from Amsterdam because they didn't trust British finance houses.

Now they are making wills to ensure that beneficiaries don't end up squabbling when they are playing that great comeback tour in the sky. Details of the tax break were revealed in the country's trade registry, according to Die Welt.

A Dutch holding company called Promogroup is the umbrella financial organisation that has been secretly managing the finances of the three original Stones for the past 35 years.

The bassist Ronnie Wood doesn't qualify to have his assets managed by the Dutch group - with just £70m in the bank, he is the poor relation to the others in the band.

The registry also pinpoints a "blueblood" as their finance manager: one German-Austrian Prince Rupprecht Ludwig Ferdinand zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, who the band reportedly nicknamed "Ruppie the Groupie".

Sabine Schuttgens, a lawyer who was involved in setting up the Stones' trusts in the Netherlands, said: "The foundations are to make sure that after the death of the rock stars there would be no arguments among their heirs."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower