LBL cancels games in tax protest

  • 2008-12-19
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with BNS
VILNIUS - The Lithuanian Basketball League (LBL) has announced that it will suspend all national championship games scheduled to take place on Dec. 20 and 21 to protest the government's decision to raise taxes.

"It seems that sports in Lithuania will not be ruined by the globaleconomic crisis but by local politicians and bureaucrats. Sports will be incatastrophic situation due to the projected new draconic taxes. Therefore,the country's best basketball clubs decided to suspend the LBL championshipsand not to hold any of the scheduled matches this weekend," the LBL said in apress release

Currently, income of athletes and coaches is imposed a 15-percent incometax.

Draft laws proposed by the ruling Coalition of Changes envisage that from2009 athletes' income will be imposed additional 6-percent health insurancetax and 1-percent social security tax.

Additionally, sports clubs will have to pay 7-percent social security taxand 3-percent health insurance tax of the pre-tax contract sum.

The new legislation no longer lists coaches as athletes. Starting nextyear, their income will be taxed with 15-percent income tax, 6-percenthealth insurance tax and 3-percent social security tax.

Furthermore, sports clubs will have to pay 27.7 percent in socialsecurity tax and 3 percent in health insurance tax of the pre-tax contractsum.

"Such situation may lead to a catastrophe because the new taxes areintroduced in the middle of the basketball season, while all contracts withathletes and coaches had been concluded in the summer or in the fall.Therefore, the increased tax load will be unbearable for the budgets ofsports clubs," reads the communique signed by Lithuania's major basketballclubs including Zalgiris Kaunas, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, Siauliai, NevezisKedainiai, Neptunas Klaipeda, Sakalai Vilnius and others.