Andy Murray has promised never to turn his back on Britain and join many of his fellow multi-millionaire tennis players in tax exile.
The world No.1 is estimated to be worth £77 million – earning £10.8 million in prize money alone last year – and yet is happy to stay in his mansion in Oxshott, Surrey, and pay whatever taxes the new government deems fit.
“The only chance of me living somewhere else is if I had a bunch of friends or some of my family were living elsewhere and I would move to spend time with them,” Murray said.
“But I wouldn’t want to go and live somewhere not to pay any tax and not to have any of my family and friends around me. I wouldn’t do that.”
Murray is one of the few top earners willing to pay his way.
Of the world’s top 20 tennis players, half are tax exiles. World No.2 Novak Djokovic has made his base in Monte Carlo. The principality is the domicile of choice for seven of the top 20 with Switzerland and Dubai playing host to three more.
James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery’s tax exile status in the Bahamas means he can only return to his native Scotland for a limited number of days each year.
Former Formula One racing driver David Coulthard, who was born in Dumfries, lives in Monaco while Lewis Hamilton, whose net worth is reported to be £131 million, lives in Monte Carlo as does Jenson Button (a relative pauper with only £86million to his name).
Golfer Rory McIlroy has been living out of a suitcase for the past few years and, for tax reasons, can only spend 90 days in the UK and 120 days in the US each year. But following his marriage to American Erica Stoll in April, he is reported to be setting up permanent home in Florida which will keep his £82 million fortune away from HMRC.
Although Murray will be in Paris on General Election day – should he beat Kei Nishikori today he will be preparing for the French Open semi-finals – he has arranged a postal vote.
“Me and my wife, we are actually getting our [postal vote] brought out and then they will be taken back,” Murray said.
He added: “We’ve watched pretty much all of the political debates. With the team, we watched Sky, we didn’t watch the ITV debate, which didn’t have Corbyn or Theresa May. Then we watched the BBC one. So I’ve tried to keep up with it as much as possible.”
Murray lives in the staunchly Conservative Esher and Walton constituency, where house prices have more than doubled since he bought his £5 million five-bedroom home in 2009.
Richard Murphy, professor of practice in international economy at City,University of London, who in 2014 criticised tax exile Hamilton being awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year, said: “Andy Murray’s decision is complete common sense. He lives in the UK and is willing to pay the price. He is a role model for others to follow.
“Murray has acknowledged we all live in a community which is defined by a person’s natural residence, where their family is and where their heritage is.”
Prof Murphy, author of ‘The Joy of Tax’, added: “We cannot deny people the right to move country.
“But is money really more important than supporting the country which gave you all the chances for the sport you now excel in?