Baumgartner tax row

The tax proceedings of the extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner are still underway. Mr Baumgartner told the Austria Press Agency that he asked the Independent Finance Senate (UFS) to resolve his case.

Mr Baumgartner has recently told the newspaper “Kronen Zeitung” that the Ministry of Finance denied his tax-saving status as part of an external audit.

Apparently, the sportsman contacted the former financial secretary Reinhold Lopatka at the beginning of 2009. However, Mr Lopatka said that he did not intervene in the tax proceedings in Salzburg.

Mr Baumgartner complained to him several times that the Financial Ministry treated him unfairly. He was not granted a “tax-saving” status like Austrian skiers. Mr Lopatka thus promised him to examine the issue in the Ministry.

However, the experts did not believe that Mr Baumgartner deserved the status and a special regulation. The affected sportspeople only have to tax a third of their income from prizes and advertising contracts, which is 17 percent (compared to 50 percent for normal tax payers).

The condition for the regulation is that the affected sportsperson mainly takes part in competitions abroad, which was not the case for Mr Baumgartner. According to Mr Lopatka, the preparation for an event (the jump from the stratosphere) cannot be considered to be sport.

Mr Baumgartner currently lives in Switzerland, due to tax reasons.