Shakira Maintains Innocence but Accepts Plea Deal to Avoid Possible Eight-Year Prison Term 

Dec 29, 2023 | Blog, Celebrity Tax News

According to a back-taxes attorney, international pop star Shakira has reached an agreement with Barcelona prosecutors concerning her ongoing tax fraud case. This was apparently the only way the popular celebrity could count on prison time being avoided.

 The Colombian singing sensation had been charged with six counts of failing to pay taxes to the Spanish government for the tax years 2012 and 2014. An eight-year prison sentence was being sought by prosecutors for the alleged 14.5 million euros owed to Spain. According to a Bay Area tax lawyer, this amount is currently equivalent to $15.8 million. 

 Eleventh-Hour Plea Deal Agreed Upon

The trial was set to begin on Monday, December 18, but it was that day that Shakira’s lawyer for back taxes stated that she had agreed to the plea deal. Parts of the plea arrangement include a much smaller fine and tax penalties, as well as a three-year suspended sentence. The same plea deal had been rejected by the singer in 2022, and although she has now accepted it, she still insists that she is innocent of the charges.

 The singer explained in a statement acquired by Fox News Digital that her tax lawyers had indicated that the courts would’ve likely ruled in her favor, but she made the plea arrangement because it was in her and her children’s best interests to resolve the matter once and for all.

 Trial Would Have Included Over 100 Witnesses

According to a tax attorney in San Jose, more than 100 witnesses would have been called during the trial, which was expected to span several weeks. Shakira stated that many performers, athletes, and celebrities are targeted for unfair tax assessments, and that she is not the only one who has had her tranquility and personal energy drained for years at a time battling this type of high-profile case. She stated that those who fight against what she referred to as “these injustices” have her full admiration, but for her the best decision was focusing on reclaiming her time and energy and channeling them into her career and her family.

Barcelona Tax Officials Tell a Different Story

Those who file late tax returns or owe taxes are frequently caught, regardless of the country in which they live. However, prosecutors in Barcelona say that celebrities who live in various parts of the world sometimes reside in one country, to which taxes would be owed, but claim they were living elsewhere.

Barcelona prosecutors say that Shakira spent over half of both 2012 and 2914 in Spain, which, according to the country’s laws, means she is responsible for paying taxes to that country. Shakira has always maintained that this was not the case, although it was believed that she had a difficult time proving her case. The charges against the singer were initially appealed, but a Spanish court denied the request in the spring of 2022. Under the plea deal, Shakira must accept a suspended three-year sentence and pay a fine equivalent to $7.6 million.

Additional Charges Filed in September

The singer is still facing additional charges in an entirely different case where she was accused of tax evasion for income made in 2018. In September, the new charges were officially filed by Barcelona tax officials who claimed Shakira owed 6.7 million euros to the Spanish government. 

Tax audit representation is not reserved for celebrities, however. Rather, those facing tax penalties or who are charged with delinquent taxes should seek the advice of a back-taxes attorney without delay.