Why's Everybody Livin' In Andorra? The High Cost of Speed
"This is America! Make more money next year!" Edwards thundered.

Rick Blaine: I came to Casablanca for the waters.

Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.

Rick Blaine: I was misinformed
Aprilia was said to be under pressure to sign Jorge Martin for the factory team after the Mugello MotoGP race. It was an all-night negotiation session between Aprilia's race team, Martin's manager, and Aprilia's CEO. So they can probably be forgiven for being a bit sloppy when they sent out the news release with a photograph of the top page of the signed agreement, which included Martin's home address clearly legible.

Which inadvertently brings up the question—why do Martin and a vast majority of MotoGP riders live in Andorra, Spain? Good climate? Catalan food? Topless beaches?

Maybe. But not really. It's all about taxes. (Also Andorra is land-locked so if you're moving there for the topless beaches ...)
However, Edwards II dismissed the idea cold on patriotic grounds. He said he'd never give up his American citizenship under any circumstances. "This is America! Make more money next year!" he thundered.
Riders giving up their home country and residency to avoid a giant tax bill is nothing new. Wayne Gardner and Michael Doohan moved to tax-free Monaco in the 1980s. Casey Stoner was a proud Australian throughout his MotoGP career, but in reality, he was a resident of Switzerland during the same period. Max Biaggi was a Monaco man as well, as was Troy Bayliss. Briton Cal Crutchlow lived in southern California for years while his official on-paper residence was in the Isle of Man, another locale renowned for low or no income taxes. James Toseland and Neil Hodgson also live on the Isle of Man, and it's probably not just for the year-round beautiful weather (joke).

How much can a rider pocket by living in a low tax (Andorra) or no tax region? A six-figure sum—yearly. Someone once saw American Ben Spies' tax bill during his more lucrative earning years. The former WSBK champ signed a check to Uncle Sam for around $850,000. Every year. And before you weekend tax-preparers shriek 'Why didn't he call me? I coulda saved him loads!' keep in mind that Spies had a team of CPA-level accountants, a fiduciary and top tax law firm preparing his returns.

American Colin Edwards II had a number of lucrative side gigs outside of his WSBK and MotoGP career. He's alluded to the fact that he made more money from his real estate investments than he did from being paid to race motorcycles. This was not an insignificant sum. For example when Aprilia signed him for their MotoGP project they did so with a $3 million base salary—in the early 2000s! An accountant once ran the numbers as to how much money Edwards II could keep in his wallet by moving to Monaco, and it was an astounding number, according to his late father/manager. However, Edwards II dismissed the idea cold on patriotic grounds. He said he'd never give up his American citizenship under any circumstances. "This is America! Make more money next year!" he thundered.

Several American riders have had dual citizenship over the years. All this meant, according to those riders, is that they paid taxes twice.

High-income earners like the current slate of MotoGP riders seek out Andorra because you can basically negotiate your own tax bill with Andorra' s tax authorities. And living there doesn't come with the lifestyle crushing expenses and constraints like Monaco where a simple boat, a craft that would fit on a two-wheel trailer, can cost $100,000, and a $10 million dollar condo is a camped, dark stacked box.

Keeping your citizenship in the United States means that your tax bill, if not paid every year, will follow you to the grave. One 1980s GP rider entrusted all his earnings to a manager who funneled the money through a giant new car dealership in northern California. The rider, who finished second in the world championship, awoke one morning in his stylish home and took his coffee on the deck overlooking an expansive lawn.

The first sign of a gigantic tax problem, one that would hound him for decades, happened when he noticed boxes of strew paper all over his lawn, with IRS forms blowing in the California breeze.

They were his financial records. His manager had decided he'd had enough and in the night he'd thrown all the files on the rider's lawn. Those papers told a story of un-paid or under-paid income taxes.

Sums that made up a tax bill that hounded the rider for decades.
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