Here's what we know about Shakira's tax fraud case

Shakira has been accused of tax fraud by the Spanish govt for not paying €14m ($21m AUD) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

Video transcript

- You might have seen articles, memes, and TikToks going around about Shakira going to prison. But what do we know about the charges? And would she actually serve time if found guilty? Shakira has been accused of tax fraud by the Spanish government for not paying $21 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison term if the pop star is convicted.

Shakira testified to a judge back in 2019 that she repaid what she owed with interest as soon as she was aware of the debt. However, the court denied her appeal, and the case will go to trial, with the judge writing that there was "sufficient evidence of criminality." The outcome of the case depends on how many days the singer spent in Spain. According to article 9 of law 35/2006, the Spanish Tax Agency considers anyone to be a tax resident if they've stayed in Spain for more than 183 days in a year.

But will all of this end with Shakira serving time behind bars? It's hard to say, but it is unlikely she would receive a sentence of eight years if convicted. Douglas S. Stransky, a practitioner of international tax law, says that in Spain, tax disputes normally fall under civil matters and not criminal ones. He suggested Spanish authorities are using the threat of a lengthy prison term to pressure the singer into a settlement.


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