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View Full Version : Kim becoming an Aussie? news topic Dec


gokimmie
Dec 3rd, 2002, 09:10 AM
BRUSSEL 03/12 (BELGA/AG) = Australië heeft Kim Clijsters een fiscaal gunstige regeling voorgesteld op voorwaarde dat ze de Australische nationaliteit aanneemt. Dat schrijven Het Nieuwsblad en Het Volk dinsdag.

De familie Clijsters neemt het aanbod in overweging, maar heeft nog niets beslist. Een van de redenen is mogelijk dat de Belgische tennisster alsmaar meer last heeft van opdringerige fans. Vader Lei Clijsters denkt erover een bodyguard in te schakelen. "Een verhuis is nog niet meteen aan de orde", zegt hij. "Ze speelt dit jaar nog de Fed Cup voor België. Maar we moeten zeker praten over deze aanbieding. Veel tennissers wonen om fiscale redenen in Monaco, Kim betaalt haar belastingen gewoon in België", zegt vader Clijsters in Het Nieuwsblad. (IVA)



Belga ()
:fiery: :fiery: :fiery: :sad: :sad: :sad: :confused: :confused: :confused:

gokimmie
Dec 3rd, 2002, 09:28 AM
it all comes down to this........
Australia has made kim a financially very interesting offer:fiery: ,i believe she wouldn't have to pay taxes on one condition of course
:fiery: :sad: she'd have to become an australian citizen:sad: :sad: :fiery: :fiery: :mad:
the clijsters family is considering the offer,lei sais,one of the reasons would be because apparently kim has a lot of pushy fans:confused: and the're also thinking of hiring a body-guard.
She's definetly not moving just yet ,says lei,she's still playing fed cup for belgium this year(:D :wavey::bounce: )but we'll definelty have to think about the offer,a lot of tennis players live in monaco to avoid taxes,kim still pays them in belgium......


can anyone tell me about the tax system in australia:confused:
i didn't think australia was tax-free,like monaco:confused:

per4ever
Dec 3rd, 2002, 09:58 AM
not tax-free..just way better then the belgian system *sigh*

Don't you dare becoming an aussie Kim!!!!!!!!!

keta
Dec 3rd, 2002, 10:21 AM
Australia definetly isnt tax free!! People still pay taxes but as i am only 15 i dont know much about the system i think it goe ssomething like they pay a % of what they earn depedning on how much a person earns and then at the end of the financial year they get a return back, But i relaly wouldnt know. Maybe one of the other Aussie's who know abit more about it could explain it better. :o :o

It would be great For australian Tennis if kim did become an Aussie citizen but it would be terrible for Belgium Tennis. Thee has been speculation about kim becoming an aussie earlier this year soo i dont know how much thruth is behind it this time. Althogh i can definetly say i wouldnt be sad if kim became an Aussie!! ;) ;)

Bigkimfan
Dec 3rd, 2002, 10:57 AM
It's bullsh*t!!!!!!!!!!!!!:mad: :fiery:

Come on Kim!!!:bounce: :bounce:

gokimmie
Dec 3rd, 2002, 11:35 AM
well,this time the article is in knack,one of the,if not the best magazine in belgium:sad: so i wouldn't dare to say it's bullshit this time...

gokimmie
Dec 3rd, 2002, 11:37 AM
http://www.knack.be/Belga/BelgaNieuws.asp?ArticleID=15146&SectionID=4

keta
Dec 3rd, 2002, 11:43 AM
:kiss: Thankz Eva. Maybe kimmie is serioulsy thinking about movie too Australia :D :D :D Thats goof for the aussie but it would be a horrible loss for Belgium!!! :sad: :sad:

fleemke³
Dec 3rd, 2002, 12:39 PM
Kim's father said that as for now Kim isn't moving to there .. but if she changes nationality one day (when she is still playing tennis) i'll be very dissapointed :mad:

KaseyL
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:00 PM
First of all, I think it's best to calm down a bit. I rather think this isn't a "drama" coming up at all.

Why?

Well, there are two different issues here.

One is the Fed Cup. Playing the fed cup for Australia isn't a question, Lei never said the Australians have asked her, and Kim has said several times, when she was asked about it, she'd play for Belgium. And even if she would switch, she CAN'T the first years to come. So don't panic, Belgian Kim fans. (and sorry, Australian fed cup team... ;) )

Primula
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:08 PM
It's her own choice but i think that she will lose a lot of fans! The Belgians who have supported her will be very disappointed.
And it's here that everything started, here in belgium. And come'on, ok she has to pay taxes here, but everyone has to! and she earns very very much money, al whole lot more then a regular citizen of Belgium I think it's a very selfish idea !!!:(
So if it's only for the taxes, it's very stupid and materialistic!! Maybe it's for Leyton, ok they love eachother, it's very normal that they wanna be with eachother, that they wanna live together! But if she does it because of Leyton, it's a proof that we still live in a men's world !!!!!! :mad: :fiery:

Ok that's my opinion about the whole thing !! I really don't know if I will like her as much as I do now, if she changes nationality! I really don't know ! :confused:

KaseyL
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:08 PM
Then the second issue, what said lei? That the Australian taxes have contacted them. They'd like to talk to them, as they'd give Kim a very friendly taxes situation, IF she'd take the Australian citizenship. She isn't planning to move yet, (according to Lei) but they will discuss the Australian offer. He added that many tennisplayers live in Monaco for tax reasons, while Kim pays her taxes in Belgium.

So far what he said.

Well, first of all let's assume that Kim would take Australian citizenship... that would be kinda foolish because due to the current Belgian law she'd loose her Belgian citizenship (and European citizenship then). Not so practical if you're an active top player (more travel document stuff to deal with, now it's easy if she plays in Europe) and what if things ever would come troublesome for her and Lleyton (I mean as a couple)? She'd need to reapply Belgian citizenship again, then. Not so wise, to switch nationalities imo. Even more, Kim has said many times (not her dad) that she wouldn't leave Belgium totally. She intented to stay in Belgium a certain amount of time a year.

What IS far more easy, and far more likely imo, not because of wishfull thinking, but simply practicality, is a marriage. That way she can get dual citizenship: get the best of both nationalities.

That applies also to him. He could easily get the benefits of European citizenship too by applying for a dual nationality due to a marriage, and if my info is correct, that wouldn't clash with current Australian laws.

Therefore I'd rather say that a marriage might be coming up than anything else for that matter.

Primula
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:12 PM
Yes KaseyL you're right, but it's very weird newsn don't you think?
Oh yes I wanna mention another thing : Sometimes i'm asking myself if Kim can't talk for herself, it's always her father who speaks with the press!! can't she give her own opinion??? :confused:

KaseyL
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by Primula
Yes KaseyL you're right, but it's very weird newsn don't you think?
Oh yes I wanna mention another thing : Sometimes i'm asking myself if Kim can't talk for herself, it's always her father who speaks with the press!! can't she give her own opinion??? :confused:

She has done so several times, especially after that Aussie interview with the Australian newspaper, where she was quoted things she didn't say.

Primula
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:14 PM
what are they waiting for then?? ;)

Mateo Mathieu
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:22 PM
I am an Aussie and I don't need her, anyway... I am pretty sure she will stay playing for Belgium :)

KaseyL
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:25 PM
To continue, about that Australian taxes and all Lei is mentionning:

Well, whatever the benefits she might get, the Australian taxes just have to follow the Australian law, and that isn't really so money friendly either.

The taxes are lower than in Belgium, but it's not a tax heaven either. Certainly not like Monaco. It's not for nothing that Rafter moved to the Bahamas in the past... (he's back now, and has to pay more again, of course :D) So why should Kim get a better deal, huh? No, really. However, she could win about 5/10% net, what isn't nothing, of course, compared to staying eligible in Belgium.

One other point in this regard, though... she still has property in Belgium, so she will always have to pay taxes on her assets in Belgium, and as long as she plays any tournament in Belgium, or does a commercial deal here, she will have to pay taxes on her earnings here too.

Then she also needs to prove that she actually isn't living here most of the time, or she can get a "nice letter" from the Belgian authorities re her taxes...

These are my thoughts re the tax matter.

Quite frankly, I somehow have the impression that there are things in between the lines here, isn't Lei sending a message to Belgian taxes, as he should already know all what I am saying here. What's the gain in saying this to a journalist? Isn't he maybe putting some pressure here and there? I wouldn't be too surprised if he is... and I don't blame him for that, I must say. I might exactly do the same thing if I was defending the interests of Kim.

Nevertheless, the tax situation isn't that bad for Kim in Belgium, if they use the current opportunities in a smart way. The law provides some systems, though. With these she can be well below 50%.

On a side note, I don't like to see the face of a sports star that has an address in Monaco but also lives in Belgium, when he gets the tax "reassessment" one day... it won't be such a heaven then. One can start asking Becker, to name one. Germany managed to have a sound case against his tax evasive manoeuvres too.

Pinkie
Dec 3rd, 2002, 01:26 PM
I tend to agreee with you Ingrid. I just read the news in the Belgian media (Teletekst) and it includes this quote from Lei: "This doesn't mean that Kim will become Australian right away. But we're keeping the offer in the back of our mind. That seems obvious given the Kim's relationship with Lleyton Hewitt."

I don't think anything is going to happen any time soon.

I think Kim talks to the press quite a lot, more than other players. But in Belgium, when journalists need a quick quote or an answer to something that comes up, they just call Lei. Plus, for things like this, Kim shouldn't be bothered in the middle of her vacation. That's wahts spokespeople are for.

KaseyL
Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by gokimmie
well,this time the article is in knack,one of the,if not the best magazine in belgium:sad: so i wouldn't dare to say it's bullshit this time...

Very true Eva, it was also in De Standaard today (in all the VUM newspapers), anything but a tabloid. VUM has good contacts with the Clijsters.
I still would be quite sceptical that Lei literally would have told this if it would be in let's say the Laatste Nieuws, as you might never know with them, and as they aren't on very good terms with Lei *cough*.

duck
Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:32 PM
The top rate of tax in Australia is 48% (and Ll has to pay it) so unless it's higher than that in Belgium I don't see the advantage of changing nationalities. And secondly what on earth is the Australian revenue commissioners (if that is who Lei was talking to) doing offering tax concessions to people if they change nationality? That sounds strictly illegal. There is no way anyone could live there tax free unless there was a special exemption for a specific profession. ( For example, in Ireland artists don't pay tax)

I think they may have been doing some tinkering with the quotes they got. The only way this situation makes sense is if Lei inquired as to what the tax situation might be if she got married and moved to Australia. Which makes sense as he handles her finance and also if he expects Kim to still spend part of her time in Belgium. And she is building a big house there so she obviouly does intend to live, at least for part of the year, in Belgium. So what does she do to avoid being taxed twice ?


i don't think Kim will ever play fed Cup for Australia anymore than Ll (much as he loves the frietkot (sp?)) will play Davis Cup for Belgium.

KaseyL
Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by duck
The top rate of tax in Australia is 48% (and Ll has to pay it) so unless it's higher than that in Belgium I don't see the advantage of changing nationalities. And secondly what on earth is the Australian revenue commissioners (if that is who Lei was talking to) doing offering tax concessions to people if they change nationality? That sounds strictly illegal. ... I think they may have been doing some tinkering with the quotes they got. The only way this situation makes sense is if Lei inquired as to what the tax situation might be if she got married and moved to Australia. Which makes sense as he handles her finance and also if he expects Kim to still spend part of her time in Belgium. And she is building a big house there so she obviouly does intend to live, at least for part of the year, in Belgium. So what does she do to avoid being taxed twice ?

i don't think Kim will ever play fed Cup for Australia anymore than Ll (much as he loves the frietkot (sp?)) will play Davis Cup for Belgium.

LOL @ the frietkot! :D

You're so right. That's why I am not worried at all, or upset.

In the best of cases, the Australian taxes will be less than she is paying at present, (but only 5 to 10% less if she isn't using all possibilities in Belgium right now, which I somehow doubt a bit or she is very ill advised) so it's even more likely she won't benefit much.

I've forgotten to put this in my previous posts: I find it also a very weird thing that as Lei called Australian taxes to sort out some money Kim had to receive, that they would have made him an offer re Kim's taxes if she'd become an Australian, just like that. Sorry, but I have my thoughts on that one, very fishy. I think lei doesn't tell the whole thing here, and that's understandable of course.
Hence why I wrote I wouldn't be too surprised if there are other things on the agenda. These would make far more sense.

One remark, though. I don't think for a second that the quotes were a bit let's say 'adapted'. The source is way too serious to put his words in another way, and wouldn't risk their good contact with Lei for this at all.

Anyway, I'm off, I should continue doing other stuff than this LOL (this is more pleasant, though :o )

Bigkimfan
Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:36 PM
I think "Het Nieuwsblad" and "Het Volk" just wanted some sensation... In every article on teletext, the internet,... they say :" Thats what "Het Nieuwsblad" and "Het Volk" write...".

Come on Kim!!!!!!:bounce: :bounce:

Bigkimfan
Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:42 PM
Did they say anything on TV1 or VTM???

Come on Kim!!!:bounce: :bounce:

duck
Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by KaseyL


In the best of cases, the Australian taxes will be less than she is paying at present, (but only 5 to 10% less if she isn't using all possibilities in Belgium right now, which I somehow doubt a bit or she is very ill advised) so it's even more likely she won't benefit much.

I've forgotten to put this in my previous posts: I find it also a very weird thing that as Lei called Australian taxes to sort out some money Kim had to receive, that they would have made him an offer re Kim's taxes if she'd become an Australian, just like that. Sorry, but I have my thoughts on that one, very fishy. I think lei doesn't tell the whole thing here, and that's understandable of course. ...... I don't think for a second that the quotes were a bit let's say 'adapted'. The source is way too serious to put his words in another way, and wouldn't risk their good contact with Lei for this at all.

Anyway, I'm off, I should continue doing other stuff than this LOL (this is more pleasant, though :o )


I know, who would have thought the intricacies of international taxation could be so fascinating?
What is the Belgian tax rate? It sounds like it is really high.
Yeah, I think yiou are right, there is definitely something going on with the Belgian tax authorities. Perhaps as she spends so much time out of the country, Lei is trying to exploit it to pay less tax.

Lleykimmy1
Dec 3rd, 2002, 06:17 PM
Ï hope that Kim is going to stay Belgian, because she was born there and she has to be proud of her country. Of course Australia is a wonderful country, but I think that she should keep her nationality.

GO KIM YOU ARE THE BEST !!:wavey:

Hawk
Dec 3rd, 2002, 06:57 PM
I hope she stays in Belgium. We Canadians have already had the experience of Greg Rusedski :( So I don't want the same to happen to the Belgians.

Pinkie
Dec 4th, 2002, 01:27 PM
Ok, so we know this story is much about nothing. Unfortunately, it has just hit the newswires. Look the the following story that was posted on the Associated Press. Considering that just about every newspaper in the world uses the AP, I'm afraid this story is going to spread like nobody's business. With a little bit of bad luck, Lei will have to do a whole lot of denying. Good thing Kim is on vacation.

Clijsters considering offer to become Australian citizen for tax
purposes

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters is considering an
offer to take on Australian citizenship for tax purposes, her father and manager
Lei said Wednesday.

"Australia's tax authorities recently asked me to talk about an advantageous
fiscal arrangement," Lei Clijsters told the daily De Morgen. "Of course, linked
to the possible advantages is naturalization as Australian citizen."

Kim Clijsters, 19, is the girlfriend of world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and
already spends a lot of time in Australia. Lei Clijsters said she is considering
the switch because of Belgium's tax system, which has some of the highest rates
in Europe.

"In the past five years, we have paid an incredible amount of taxes," Lei
Clijsters said, adding tax authorities keep up to 60 percent of earnings won by
the world's No. 4. "Little wonder we are open to offers which cost us less."

Clijsters has won in excess of dlrs 3 million in prize money since turning
pro in 1998.

She has had a sterling year, reaching the Australian Open semifinal and
beating the Williams sisters on her way to the Masters title last month. She
also won tournaments in Hamburg, Filderstadt and Luxembourg and briefly rose to
No. 3 in the WTA rankings.

Lei Clijsters said that despite considering Australia's offer, Kim was still
firmly attached to her Belgian roots.

"She always said she wanted to remain Belgian, but as her manager I have to
study all offers and we cannot reject this without examining it carefully," he
told Le Soir newspaper.

Lei Clijsters complained that soccer players in Belgium get more financial
protection than other athletes and called on tax authorities to offer her
daughter a better financial deal.

Several Belgian sports stars have left Belgium for tax havens such as Monaco
for tax purposes but few have actually switched citizenship.

Pinkie
Dec 4th, 2002, 01:30 PM
Yup. There we go. The story was picked up by The Australian already: "Clijsters mulls citizenship" I bet you that in a few hours all the the Australian media will be all over it.

Not sure if this was a smart move, Lei.

ok, now it's only one hour later and the BBC has the story, Fox News and more Australian newspapers.

Definitely not a smart move.

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:10 PM
Originally posted by Pinkie
Yup. There we go. The story was picked up by The Australian already: "Clijsters mulls citizenship" I bet you that in a few hours all the the Australian media will be all over it.

Not sure if this was a smart move, Lei.

ok, now it's only one hour later and the BBC has the story, Fox News and more Australian newspapers.

Definitely not a smart move.

Thanks for the info, Tinne!
I do think he is exactly having the media where he wants them...

(and especially it is a "message" meant for internal Belgian use;)
I think it's working pretty well from his point of view... managed to get the topic on national TV last night)

Although he might have the topic on the agenda in Belgium now, it isn't a good thing for Kim (image I mean). The way it has been presented, is def. damaging her image to people who only read one line and forget/don't see the background of this row.

Pinkie
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by KaseyL


Thanks for the info, Tinne!
I do think he is exactly having the media where he wants them...

(and especially it is a "message" meant for internal Belgian use;)
I think it's working pretty well... managed to get the topic on national TV last night)

See, I'm not sure he if couldn't accomplish this by just placing a call to the tax service and threatening to go public. Once the story hits the media, especially internationally, he has no control over it. He is going to have to answer questions about this for at least two weeks and, especially now that the Australian media covers it, Kim is going to be bothered with it. If not now, then during the Sydney tournament and Australian Open and again and again after that. And he certainly has no control over the fall-out of the story. Public perception of Kim in Belgium could change. Her Belgian sponsors are certainly not going to be happy about this story.

Maybe because I work in the media and pr that I note these things, but Lei at times does some pretty poor media relations for his daughter. Many times, he has attacked the media, which is (basic lesson in pr) somethig you NEVER, EVER do (even if you are right). Because journalists will get back at you.

I just think it is too bad that this he created this fuss over nothing.

Elke
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:37 PM
On the same topic, once more.....

Kim keeps on paying (a lot of) taxes in Belgium.
Het Belang Van Limburg/Gaston Tuch/04/12/02

When he was still a footballplayer, Lei Clijsters was cunning, even so cunning that he won a Golden Shoe. As father and manager of Kim, Lei stays that way. At regular moments, he attacks: a liitle push here, and never afraid of a provocative declaration: 'Kim can benefit from a better fisc in Australia, so I can not exclude she may becom Australian, one day..'

Excuse me, Lei Clijsters, You have always benefited from the Belgian social welfare state, and now you dont want to pay taxes anymore? Did we hear that correct???
Lei: we will always stay in Belgium and pay our taxes here, and Kim will proudly play Fed Cup next year. I want to complain about the fact that every other country embraces their sportheroes, except in Belgium, topsporters are looted.
....And Kim doesn't know anything of this commotion, she doesn't know anything'

Why is this all of a sudden a hot item?
Lei: I'm surprised myself, it started with a letter of the Australian department of finances (?). Kim received a letter. They owed her app 1000Euro, and she had to fill in a couple of letters. I thought the administration was a bit complicated, and phoned them. The man on the phone who helped me, said he read in a local paper that Kim wanted to move to Adelaide. Suddenly, he dropped, they will embrace her as one of their own..... and that it won't bother her financially.
Ach, I never bothered that. If we wanted to go somewhere else to pay less taxes, we would have left 2 years ago.

Not so long ago, Kim had the opportunity to buy an apartment in Australia. I informed how we had to do it, with all the papers and other kind of stuff, also the taxes. And they convinced me again, it was much more attractive for Kim.

I hope it clears up a coupl of things. and thanx to the almighty translating machine :p ;) :D

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:38 PM
LOL Tinne, we were typing at the same moment.

I agree with you that he better shouldn't attack the media, especially hitting out at the Belgian media after the Masters wasn't very clever.

Nevertheless, the media do know him well in Belgium, he has used their channels so many times to get pressure up somewhere, and he regularly gets results by this method.

Remains the question how many times he can keep on doing that before people will really totally forget that and start to blame Kim.

And please, everyone, don't take his words so seriously... there is a Flemish saying that really applies to this situation: "the soup is never eaten as hot as it is served... "

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 04:18 PM
Thanks a lot for posting and doing the translation, Elke! (LOL @ the machine :D )

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 06:02 PM
This is the article from Het Laatste Nieuws, Dec 4, 2002:

I don't have time to do translations right now, so sorry to the fans who don't understand Dutch... I will post the translation ASAP (and I thought I was going to relax during the off-season LOL)

Kim blijft Belgische

Niet alleen Lleyton Hewitt maakt Kim Clijsters het hof, ook zijn vaderland doet dat. Australië wil de Limburgse dolgraag naturaliseren. Als lokaas gebruiken ze hun reputatie als belastingsparadijs voor topsporters, maar naar verluidt broedt minister van Financiën Didier Reynders intussen op een plan om ook bij ons een fiscaal uitzonderingsregime voor kleppers als Clijsters en Henin in te voeren. "Daar weet ik niks van", zegt Lei. "Sowieso wil Kim liefst van al Belgische blijven." [own note: don't think that will ever get adopted]

Australië heeft al langer een boon voor Kim. Logisch, want Kim is de vaste vriendin van Lleyton, de nummer 1 van het mannentennis, en verblijft de jongste jaren meer Down Under dan in België: 3.5 maand daar, 1.5 maand hier. dat is veeleer in rationele dan een emotionele keuze, want in januari worden de eerste tornooien (Perth, Sydney) en de eerste Grand Slam (Aussie Open) in Australië gespeeld, waar het in december en januari lekker zomert en het lekker trainen is.

"Kim logeert er bij de familie Hewitt, maar het zou handig zijn mochten we een appartement hebben" zei Lei. "Niet alleen voor Kim, maar ook voor Elke. Ik heb dit jaar zowat 500.000 euro uitgegeven om mijn dochters in perfecte omstandigheden te laten sporten. Vaste coach voor Kim én Elke, vaste kine voor Kim, maar ook: een massa hotelkamers. Het zou handiger en op termijn ook goedkoper zijn om daar een vaste stek te hebben."
Meer is er volgens Lei niet aan de hand. "Leid daar niet uit af dat ze binnen de kortste keren Australische wordt. Kim is dol op Australië, maar ze houdt van België, en voélt zich Belgische!

En dat we hier meer belastingen betalen dan pakweg Monaco: het zij zo. Als het ons daarom te doen was, hadden we al vroeger de wijk kunnen nemen, à la Stefan Everts. Kim wil dat niet. Ze is gehecht aan haar vertrouwde omgeving, haar fans en haar familie. Anders had ze geen huis gebouwd in onze straat. Over een half jaar is dat af...

Niet dat Lei Clijsters de belastingsbrieven van zijn dochter met de glimlach invult. "Laat invullen" verbetert hij. "Anderen doen dat voor ons. Vraag mij niet om cijfers, maar het gaat natuurlijk om een pak geld. Prettig vind ik dat niet, neen, maar ze heeft in haar jeugd genoten van alle Belgische voorzieningen en dus vind ik het normaal dat ze nadien zoals elke Belg haar plicht nakomt... Alleen is de wet niet hetzelfde voor elke topsporter. Voetballers zijn in België beter af. Die doen verplicht aan pensioensparen en incasseren vanaf hun 35e een prettig bedrag waarop ze niet zwaar belast worden." [note by Ingrid: Wrong: that's going to end now, the interesting scheme will no longer be legally allowed]

Gesteld dàt minister Reynders wat aan die ongelijkheid wil doen, is de vraag wie precies vanaf wanneer van die maatregel zal kunnen genieten, want uiteraard zijn niet alleen Clijsters en Henin vragende partij voor meer financiële dankbaarheid in ruil voor een rol als Belgisch exportproduct. Het is trouwens niet evident dat voor zo'n speciaal tarief een politieke meerderheid kan worden gevonden.

Bovendien: door Australische te worden zou Clijsters niet alleen meer overhouden van wat ze verdient, maar zou wàt ze verdient ook meer zijn dan nu. De commerciële waarde van Clijsters zou in het sportgekke Australië, met zijn zoveel grotere markt, ongetwijfeld hoger liggen. "Mocht het echt tientallen miljoenen schelen, dan moeten we dat toch eens van dichterbij bekijken." zei Lei, "maar dat is op dit moment echt niet aan de orde."

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 06:07 PM
and another one, from Le Soir, December 4, 2002:

(will translate ASAP as well)

LA CHAMPIONNE BELGE INTERRESSE L'AUSTRALIE
Kim Clijsters courtisée par le fisc australien

4 décembre 2002 - Philippe Vande Weyer

AP

La meilleure sportive belge va-t-elle tourner le dos à son pays pour embrasser celui de son fiancé, le numéro un du tennis mondial, Lleyton Hewitt? Le père de la championne belge a été approché par l'administration fiscale australienne pour évoquer les avantages financiers d'une naturalisation...

Kim Clijsters disputera, les 26 et 27 avril prochains, le match Belgique - Autriche de Fed Cup sur ses terres de Bree, en compagnie de Justine Henin. S'agira-t-il de son dernier match sous les couleurs nationales ? En Australie, en tout cas, certains l'espèrent...

Le père de la Limbourgeoise, qui lui fait également office de manager, a, en effet, récemment eu un contact avec l'administration fiscale australienne après avoir été averti qu'elle avait encore droit à une prime gagnée lors d'un tournoi. C'est là, dit-il, qu'on m'a dit qu'en cas de naturalisation elle pourrait bénéficier d'un régime fiscal très avantageux.

Cette information nous avait déjà été communiquée il y a un an, lorsque nous nous étions renseignés sur les modalités de l'achat éventuel d'un appartement à Adelaïde.
L'Australie sportive, qui n'a pas son pareil pour attirer dans ses rets les athlètes de haut niveau, rêve depuis plusieurs mois d'annexer définitivement celle qu'elle considère comme une des siens depuis qu'elle fréquente Lleyton Hewitt. Mais, entre rêver et concrétiser, il y a de la marge.

Kim n'a jamais dit qu'elle voulait devenir australienne, confirme son père, qui ajoute que ni lui ni elle ne se sont renseignés sur les procédures de naturalisation. Elle a, au contraire, toujours affirmé qu'elle était et resterait belge. Mais, en tant que manager, je me dois d'étudier toutes les propositions. Et nous ne pouvons donc rejeter celle-ci sans l'avoir attentivement examinée…

Leo Clijsters, qui n'est pas né de la dernière pluie, :D entend visiblement profiter de cette affaire pour mettre la pression sur l'administration fiscale belge, qu'il juge un peu trop gourmande.

Depuis trois ans (qu'elle gagne beaucoup d'argent), Kim a toujours payé ce qu'elle devait aux impôts ; on lui retient entre 50 et 60 % de ses gains… ce qui est beaucoup. Bien placé pour avoir été lui-même joueur de premier plan à l'époque où il était le capitaine du FC Malines, victorieux de la Coupe des coupes en 1988, il plaide pour que l'on étende à tous les sportifs professionnels belges le système en vigueur chez les footballeurs (NDLR : et les basketteurs).

Imaginé durant les années 90 pour éviter la « fuite des cerveaux » vers l'étranger, celui-ci oblige les clubs à verser une partie du salaire (jusqu'à 30 %) dans une caisse de pension. Le joueur ne peut accéder à cette somme qu'à 35 ans ; mais, en échange, il bénéficie des intérêts qu'elle a générés et n'est imposé qu'à raison de 18 %. Le club, lui aussi, s'y retrouve puisqu'il ne paie pas de cotisations patronales sur cette somme.
Actuellement, sur ce qu'il gagne, un joueur de football en Belgique garde proportionnellement plus d'argent que Kim ou Justine, conclut Clijsters. Tout ce que je demande, c'est une certaine équité. Cela permettrait peut-être aussi d'éviter que certains de nos meilleurs sportifs se fassent domicilier à Monaco.
Et que d'autres finissent par se transformer en kangourou ou en koala ?

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 06:11 PM
and more, still from Le Soir, Dec 4, 2002:

Un simple procédé d'« australisation »
04 décembre 2002 - Le Soir

JOËL GRÉGOIRE

L'offre faite à Kim Clijsters n'a rien d'une exception de la part d'une nation rodée en matière de naturalisation. Si l'ambassade d'Australie en Belgique ne traite pas directement les demandes de migration vers les Antipodes - c'est à Paris que revient cette tâche -, la procédure à suivre pour la citoyenne de Bree ou toute autre personne attirée par le continent austral se veut relativement simple, de nature à lever bien des réticences. D'autant que les deux pays entretiennent d'excellentes relations, des accords bilatéraux favorisant l'obtention de visas pour des séjours prolongés.

Entre ainsi dans les conditions requises pour demander la nationalité australienne celui qui réside en Australie la majeure partie de son temps, y a passé au total deux des cinq dernières années - dont douze mois au cours des deux ans passés -, parle et comprend un anglais basique, a connaissance de ses droits et devoirs de citoyen, a l'intention de continuer à vivre sur le territoire australien. Confirmée par le « Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs », la démarche se veut encore allégée pour les « distinguished talents », les individus aux talents spéciaux et... bénéfiques à l'Australie tels que sportifs, artistes ou musiciens brillants dans leur domaine.

Dans ce sens, nul doute que la Limbourgeoise possède de multiples atouts dans son jeu. Outre la reconnaissance due à sa place de numéro 4 sur le circuit féminin du tennis mondial, la joueuse est d'autant plus appréciée au pays des kangourous qu'elle est fiancée à Lleyton Hewitt, emblème national. Dès lors, s'il y avait lieu de l'envisager sérieusement, il suffirait à Clijsters de s'établir dans le pays de son cher et tendre pour entrer en ligne de compte en vue d'obtenir un nouveau passeport, tout en conservant le sien : l'Australie admet la double nationalité.

Moyennant l'arrêt de ses services au profit de l'équipe belge de Fed Cup, elle pourrait même défendre les couleurs de sa seconde patrie, à plus long terme, trois ans tout au plus. En effet, si la proposition formulée au clan Clijsters se veut avant tout d'ordre fiscal, les « Aussies » ont attiré nombre de sportifs dans leur giron. Depuis le triste bilan olympique des Jeux de Montréal en 1976, la reconstruction s'est opérée en interne avec l'apparition à Canberra d'un Institut national des sports performant et l'arrivée de renforts destinés à porter le drapeau étoilé vers les sommets.

De naturalisations fructueuses comme celles des perchistes Markov et Grigorieva au simple recrutement du talent étranger en matière de préparation et de coaching, l'Autralie a redoré son blason. Le tennis y jouit d'une importance et d'une popularité croissantes, relatives aux nombreux tournois nationaux et à ses dignes représentants. Les siens d'abord, les naturalisés ensuite, et les assimilés. A l'image d'une Kim Clijsters qui passe de longues périodes dans l'hémisphère Sud se voit déjà qualifiée de « quasi Australienne », de future madame Hewitt...·


[own remark: they have forgotten one important thing in this article:
yes, Australian law might allow it, but Belgian doesn't, like I wrote yesterday. Kim can only have dual nationality according to Belgian law IF she is married. Otherwise she will loose her Belgian nationality if she receives an Aussie one.]

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 06:14 PM
And reactions from the Belgian tennis world:

Source: Le Soir, December 4, 2002

« Kim n'est pas encore partie »
04 décembre 2002 - Le Soir

RÉACTIONS
Yves Freson (président de la Fédération belge de tennis, FRBT). Concernant l'éventuelle naturalisation australienne de Kim, franchement, elle m'étonne vu qu'elle a toujours déclaré être et se sentir belge. Pour l'allégement fiscal, je comprends la position de son père qui est aussi son manager. Les carrières des sportifs de haut niveau sont brèves dans le temps. Cela étant, je ne peux que renvoyer à ce sujet la balle au ministre des Finances. J'ajoute qu'à la FRBT nous avons déjà tenu compte des intérêts des joueuses en allégeant leur retenue fiscale, non pas lorsqu'elles jouent en Belgique mais bien quand elle œuvrent à l'étranger et ce, par le biais d'accords internationaux. Les joueurs de Coupe Davis pourraient également en bénéficier.

Guido De Bondt (secrétaire général du COIB). Sur ce que je sais, Kim n'est pas encore partie… Si cela devait se produire, ce serait dommage dans l'optique des Jeux d'Athènes, où elle sera vraisemblablement candidate à la médaille d'or… si elle y va. Je vous rappelle qu'elle n'était pas à Sydney, parce que son père avait estimé qu'elle était trop jeune et qu'elle avait surtout des points à défendre lors d'un tournoi se déroulant à la même époque. Le fait qu'elle n'ait pas représenté la Belgique aux Jeux de 2000 pourrait d'ailleurs faciliter une éventuelle participation à ceux de 2004 sous les couleurs de l'Australie si jamais…·

Pa. L. et Ph. V.W.

KaseyL
Dec 4th, 2002, 10:56 PM
As promised,...

Article from Het Laatste Nieuws, Dec 4, 2002

Kim remains Belgian = Kim blijft Belgische

(translated by Ingrid)

Not only Lleyton Hewitt is courting Kim Clijsters, also his home country is doing this. Australia would love to adopt the Limburg girl. As bait they use their reputation [my own note: hello, there are other countries for that!] as tax heaven for top sportsmen. But apparently Minister of Finance Didier Reynders is already working on the introduction of a special tax scheme for big guns like Clijsters and Henin. “I don’t know anything about that”, Lei says. “Anyway, Kim prefers to remain Belgian”. [own note: don't think that tax scheme will ever get adopted]

Australia is already having a weak spot for Kim since quite some time. Logical, because Kim is the girlfriend of Lleyton, the world number one in men’s tennis, and she is more Down Under than in Belgium the last years: 3.5 months there, 1.5 month here. That’s more a rational choice than an emotional one, as the first tournaments in January (Perth, Sydney) and the first Grand Slam (Aussie Open) are played in Australia, where it is a fantastic summertime and great practising in December and January.

“Kim stays with the Hewitt family, but it would be more practical if we’d have an appartment there,” says Lei. “Not only for Kim, but also for Elke. I have spent about € 500000 this year to allow my daughters to play their sport in the best of conditions. A permanent coach for Kim, but also one for Elke, permanent physio for Kim, but also a huge number of stays in hotel rooms..
It would be more practical and cheaper long-term to have a permanent place there.
Nothing more is going on, according to Lei. “Don’t deduct from this that she’ll become an Australian soon. Kim adores Australia, but she loves Belgium, and looks upon herself as a Belgian!

And that we pay more taxes here than let’s say Monaco: so be it. If that was in our mind, we could have emigrated earlier, like Stefan Everts. Kim doesn’t want that. She is attached to her familiar environment, her fans and her family. She wouldn’t have built a house in our street otherwise. It will be ready in half a year...”

Not that Lei Clijsters is smiling when he is completing the tax declarations for his daughter. “Let them be completed” he adjusts. “Others do that for us. Don’t ask me figures, but it’s about a lot of money, of course. I don’t like that, no, but she has benefitted of all the Belgian infrastructure and therefore I think it’s normal that she does her duty like any other Belgian... Only the law isn’t the same for all top sportspeople. Football players are better off in Belgium. They have to participate at a group pension scheme and when they turn 35, they receive a nice amount on which they don’t have to pay many taxes.” [note by Ingrid: Wrong: that's going to end now, the interesting scheme will no longer be legally allowed]

Supposing that minister Reynders does want to do something about this discrimination, it’s still a question who might benefit of that new rule, because obviously not only Clijsters and Henin are interested in more financial gratitude in exchange for a role as Belgian exports product. Moreover, it’s not very likely that there will be a political majority for such a special rate.
Furthermore, by becoming an Australian Clijsters wouldn’t only have more net earnings, but what she’d earn would be more too. The commercial value of Clijsters in sports mad Australia, with its far bigger market, would be undeniably bigger. “If it would be some tens of millions more, than we should have a closer look at it, though,” Lei says, "but that’s not an issue yet.”

shannonannafan
Dec 5th, 2002, 03:00 AM
That's good that Kim will stay representing Belgium. For a minute there, I almost lost a little respect for her. It would be horrible if she turned her back on a country that supported her so much. Espically after they through her that big party and gave her Beauty :) :) :)

pcabenojar
Dec 5th, 2002, 08:14 AM
Got this article from "The Australian" ....as mentioned by Pinkie earlier.

Clijsters mulls citizenship
December 04, 2002
The Australian


BELGIAN tennis star Kim Clijsters is considering an offer to take on Australian citizenship for tax purposes, her father and manager Lei said.

"Australia's tax authorities recently asked me to talk about an advantageous fiscal arrangement," Lei Clijsters told the daily De Morgen. "Of course, linked to the possible advantages is naturalisation as Australian citizen."

Kim Clijsters, 19, is the girlfriend of world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt and already spends a lot of time in Australia. Lei Clijsters said she is considering the switch because of Belgium's tax system, which has some of the highest rates in Europe.

"In the past five years, we have paid an incredible amount of taxes," Lei Clijsters said, adding tax authorities keep up to 60 percent of earnings won by the world's No.4. "Little wonder we are open to offers which cost us less."

Clijsters has won in excess of $US3 million ($5.38 million) in prize money since turning pro in 1998. She has had a stellar year, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and beating the Williams sisters on her way to the Masters title last month. She also won tournaments in Hamburg, Filderstadt and Luxembourg and briefly rose to No.3 in the WTA rankings.

Lei Clijsters said that despite considering Australia's offer, Kim was still firmly attached to her Belgian roots.

"She always said she wanted to remain Belgian, but as her manager I have to study all offers and we cannot reject this without examining it carefully," he told Le Soir newspaper.

Lei Clijsters complained that soccer players in Belgium get more financial protection than other athletes and called on tax authorities to offer her daughter a better financial deal.

Several Belgian sports stars have left Belgium for tax havens such as Monaco for tax purposes but few have actually switched citizenship.

Katja
Dec 5th, 2002, 08:20 AM
I watched TV1 yesterday, where they talked about Kim on the 19 o'clock news. An expert explained that she doesn't have to be an australian citizen to be able to pay her taxes in Australia. If she decides to go and live there, she'll pay her taxes there, even if she remains a belgian citizen. :D

And, if I'm not wrong, I think that Kim just build a new house in Bree, so why would she become australian all of a sudden???


GO KIM!!!!!! :bounce:

duck
Dec 5th, 2002, 10:42 AM
Originally posted by Pinkie


Many times, he has attacked the media, which is (basic lesson in pr) somethig you NEVER, EVER do (even if you are right). Because journalists will get back at you.

I just think it is too bad that this he created this fuss over nothing.

Poor Leyton is completely screwed then. ;)

I definitely agree with the last comment but the reassuring thing from the point of view of Kim's image is that the press seem to be emphasising that this is all coming from Lei. I do get the impression that Lei is regarded as someone who is, as we would say in Ireland, a chancer, that is someone who is a bit of a rascal, who always manages to get out of trouble at the last second and who takes a lot of risks that may or may not pay off.

KaseyL
Dec 5th, 2002, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by Katja
I watched TV1 yesterday, where they talked about Kim on the 19 o'clock news. An expert explained that she doesn't have to be an australian citizen to be able to pay her taxes in Australia. If she decides to go and live there, she'll pay her taxes there, even if she remains a belgian citizen. :D

And, if I'm not wrong, I think that Kim just build a new house in Bree, so why would she become australian all of a sudden???


GO KIM!!!!!! :bounce:

thanks for the info, Katja! But it all was based on Lei saying that the authorities had told him she'd get a fav. scheme IF she'd become an Aussie.

It's all very clear in the last interview I translated last night.

KaseyL
Dec 5th, 2002, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by duck


Poor Leyton is completely screwed then. ;)

I definitely agree with the last comment but the reassuring thing from the point of view of Kim's image is that the press seem to be emphasising that this is all coming from Lei. I do get the impression that Lei is regarded as someone who is, as we would say in Ireland, a chancer, that is someone who is a bit of a rascal, who always manages to get out of trouble at the last second and who takes a lot of risks that may or may not pay off.

I'd like to add that the media in Belgium know him really well, like I wrote yesterday that he has used their channels so many times to get pressure up somewhere, and he regularly gets results by this method.

He knows well enough what he is doing by "leaking" this to the press; he really got them all where he wanted them to be. He just doesn't take risks like that; he is cunning instead of anything else.

But as I wrote yesterday as well, remains the question how many times he can keep on doing that before people will really totally forget that and start to blame Kim.

KaseyL
Dec 6th, 2002, 11:48 AM
Another translation I've promised:

(original headline was "LA CHAMPIONNE BELGE INTERRESSE L'AUSTRALIE - Kim Clijsters courtisée par le fisc australien", posted here in this thread)


Source: Le Soir, December 4, 2002

Australia is interested in the Belgian champion.

Kim Clijsters is courted by the Australian tax authorities.

by Philippe Vande Weyer
(translated by Ingrid)

Is the best Belgian sportsperson going to turn her back on her country to embrace that of her fiance, the world number one, Lleyton Hewitt?

The father of the Belgian champion has been approached by the Australian tax authorities to be pointed at the financial benefits of a naturalisation...

Kim Clijsters will play the tie Belgium-Australia on 26 and 27 April next year on her soil in Bree, together with Justine Henin. Will that be her last match under the Belgian colours? In Australia, some are certainly hoping for that, ...

The father of the Limburg girl, who is also her manager, has recently been in contact with the Australian tax authorities after having received a notification that she still was entitled to an amount of money she had won in a tournament. It was then, he said, that they had told him that, in case of a naturalisation, she could benefit of a very interesting tax system.

'That information has already been given to us last year, when we inquired re the formalities of maybe buying an appartment in Adelaide. '

Sportive Australia, outstanding for attracting top athletes, is dreaming since several months of finally welcoming her who they consider as one of them since she is with Lleyton Hewitt. However, between dream and realising it, there is a gap.

‘Kim has never said she wanted to become Australian’, confirmed her dad, and he adds that neither he, nor she, have inquired about the procedures of a naturalisation. ‘She, on the contrary, has always confirmed that she was and would remain Belgian. But, as her manager, I have to take all proposals into consideration. And therefore we can’t just reject this one without a closer examination...’

Leo Clijsters, who wasn’t born yesterday, [:D ]obviously wants to take advantage of this case to put pressure on the Belgian tax system, which he considers to be a bit too greedy.

Since three years (that she makes a lot of money), Kim has always paid the taxes she had to pay; they take between 50 and 60% of her income...what is a lot. Well-informed, as he himself was a player of first category at the time he was captain of FC Mechelen, [own note: Belgian football club, in 1st national division] winner of the Champions Cup in 1988, he pleads that they should extent the current system for the football players [note newspaper: and basketball players] to all Belgian professional sportsmen and women.
It was set up during the 90’s to prevent the ‘brain drain’, to go abroad, and forces the clubs to put a part of the salary (up ‘til 30%) in a pension fund. The player can’t access the money until he is 35, but in return he benefits from the profits that it has generated and is only taxed on these at a rate of 18%. The club has an advantage as well as it doesn’t have to pay contributions on these amounts.

‘At the moment, a football player in Belgium gets proportionally more in net on what he earns than Kim or Justine’, Lei concludes. ‘All that I ask is a certain equality. That maybe might also prevent certain of our best sportspeople to get themselves a residence in Monaco.’
And that others end up in transforming themselves in a kangaroo or a koala? [:rolleyes: ]

END


Own remarks:

1) the system Lei talks about is set to be abolished, though. Based on current government decisions, it will soon no longer be possible for young footballplayers who start as pros now, to benefit of this lucrative scheme at age 35. So I don't see why it would be expanded to all athletes if it is bound to be forbidden...

2) the highest tax level in Belgium is currently 52%... (someone in here asked that a couple of days ago, I recall?) while Australia is at 48%

3) most of her income out of prize money is generated outside Belgium. Belgium has tax deals with most, if not all, of the countries involved, to avoid double taxation. This means in two words that for most of her earnings through prize money she isn't subjected to the highest possible rate of 52%. She still has to pay more than let's say an American player, as Belgium still takes a % on the foreign earnings, but nevertheless, the picture is a bit different than from what is insinuated.

I felt I had to point this out, though.
Stands the fact that Belgian athletes are far worse off than many other nationalities, (but so are all Belgians who are working) and that some athletes in Belgium aren't equal to others, 100% right too. Lei certainly has a point in this regard.

KaseyL
Dec 6th, 2002, 12:34 PM
From Australian press today:

(still making headlines there)


Source: Fox Sports, Dec. 6, 2002

Clijsters may become Aussie

From correspondents in Brussels
December 6, 2002

BELGIAN WTA Tour champion Kim Clijsters is thinking of taking Australian citizenship to avoid a huge tax bill in her home country, her father has been quoted as saying.

"She will play in the Fed Cup for Belgium this year," said former Belgian football player Leo Clijsters.

But he added: "We are simply leaving the option open. Many tennis players live for example in Monaco for tax reasons. Kim pays her taxes in Belgium. And it makes a substantial difference."

A Belgian newspaper said that Clijsters, girlfriend of Lleyton Hewitt, would pay substantially less tax if she switched her nationality.

But her father said: "It is not because of that that she will take the step."

Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said tax authorities could strike a deal with Clijsters "to find a way to reduce the tax burden as far as possible".

Such a deal would "notably taking into account the fact that she belongs to one of these professions where the career is short and revenue is irregular."

He denied that Belgium would get into a bidding with Australian tax authorities.

The paper said Clijsters is to spend the whole of this month in Adelaide, alongside Hewitt, to prepare for next season.

Agence France-Presse

KaseyL
Dec 6th, 2002, 12:49 PM
another one from the Australian press

Source: Herald Sun, Dec. 6, 2002

C'mon Kim, become an Aussie
AAP

AUSTRALIA has never had a reputation as a tax haven, but Kim Clijsters, girlfriend of world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt, is considering taking Australian citizenship for tax purposes.

Tennis Australia officials were excited when Clijsters said this year she would like to live here, and was considering buying property in Hewitt's home town, Adelaide.
And now her father and manager, Leo, has said the 19-year-old was looking at paying tax in Australia, to avoid an even higher rate at home in Belgium.

But Clijsters wouldn't come in for any special exemptions and, like Hewitt, would be subjected to the top tax rate.

"We wouldn't offer any particular incentive for a sporting star to come here," an Australian Tax Office official said yesterday.

Leo Clijsters said the authorities in Belgium, which has one of the highest tax rates in Europe, kept up to 60 per cent of earnings won by the world No.4.

"Australia's tax authorities recently asked me to talk about an advantageous fiscal arrangement," he said. "Of course, linked to the possible advantages is naturalisation as an Australian citizen. In the past five years, we have paid an incredible amount of taxes. Little wonder we are open to offers that cost us less."

Clijsters could qualify as a resident through bank accounts, purchase of property or living here 183 days during a financial year.

Pat Rafter avoided paying Australian tax during his career by basing himself in Bermuda, while other Australian sporting stars have sought the tax haven of Monaco.

But Hewitt, who earned close to $30 million this year, has preferred to stay based in Australia even if it means surrendering almost half his income.

Clijsters said earlier this year she had fallen in love with Australia, spending summer by Hewitt's side in Adelaide.

"It's hard. I love both countries and it's a bit of a dilemma for me," she said. "I love playing for Belgium and my family is Belgian and everything, but I love Australia and I love to go to Australia and I'd love to live in Australia."

ikke
Dec 6th, 2002, 03:43 PM
Thanks for those articals :kiss:

Bigkimfan
Dec 6th, 2002, 05:07 PM
Thanks!!!!!:kiss:

Come on Kim!!!!!!!:bounce: :bounce:

kit
Dec 6th, 2002, 07:53 PM
Thanks for the articles.I read three articles in German too,but that was all the same.:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

spiritfullfrog
Dec 7th, 2002, 02:12 AM
From the Sydney Morning Herald....they're all pretty much the same...

Clijsters mulls Aussie offer
December 5 2002

Brussels: Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters is considering an offer to take on Australian citizenship for tax purposes, her father and manager Lei said today.

"Australia's tax authorities recently asked me to talk about an advantageous fiscal arrangement," Lei Clijsters told the daily De Morgen. "Of course, linked to the possible advantages is naturalisation as Australian citizen."

Kim Clijsters, 19, is the girlfriend of world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt and already spends a lot of time in Australia. Lei Clijsters said she is considering the switch because of Belgium's tax system, which has some of the highest rates in Europe.

"In the past five years, we have paid an incredible amount of taxes," Lei Clijsters said, adding tax authorities keep up to 60 pe rcent of earnings won by the world's No.4. "Little wonder we are open to offers which cost us less."

Clijsters has won in excess of $US3 million ($A5.38 million) in prize money since turning pro in 1998.

She has had a stellar year, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and beating the Williams sisters on her way to the Masters title last month. She also won tournaments in Hamburg, Filderstadt and Luxembourg and briefly rose to No.3 in the WTA rankings.

Lei Clijsters said that despite considering Australia's offer, Kim was still firmly attached to her Belgian roots.

"She always said she wanted to remain Belgian, but as her manager I have to study all offers and we cannot reject this without examining it carefully," he told Le Soir newspaper.

Lei Clijsters complained that soccer players in Belgium get more financial protection than other athletes and called on tax authorities to offer her daughter a better financial deal.

Several Belgian sports stars have left Belgium for tax havens such as Monaco for tax purposes but few have actually switched citizenship.