U2 singer Bono’s tax arrangements are “perfectly legal,” according to Jamie Drummond, executive director and co-founder, with Bono, of One, a global aid advocacy group.
Drummond told the Irish Times that “the amount of work, time and sweat equity and the money [Bono] spends on [One] is phenomenal.” Bono’s involvement with One does not constitute tax evasion.
Bono and Drummond frequently travel to Africa together to support One, he said.
Bob Geldof, another advocate for the One campaign, reportedly uses his non-domiciled status in the UK to avoid income and capital gains tax, prompting questions of hypocrisy, according to reports in The Week.
One deals with tax issues in order to help African governments find revenue to reinvest in their own economies, and not with the personal taxes of Bono or Geldof, according to Drummond.
The personal finances of the stars are “non-relevant” to their urging of development, and the band’s tax affairs are controlled by the band management.
Bono and Geldof are “not engaged in tax avoidance as I understand it,” Drummond said. “They are engaged in perfectly legal matters.”
U2 moved some of its business arrangements to the Netherlands in 2006 in an attempt to escape Ireland’s taxes on royalties, which changed in 2005, limiting the band’s former tax arrangements. Bono was criticized for hypocrisy at the time due to his
simultaneous urging for developed countries to increase their global aid contributions.
Drummond’s defence came after British Prime minister David Cameron’s condemnation of Irish-born comedian Jimmy Carr’s tax scheme (20th June), reported in the Huffington Post, sparked public concern over tax evasion strategies among the wealthy. Carr funnels money through K2, a company which then lends the money back so that it is not subject to income tax.