A small country in the Pyrenees has become a tax haven for Spanish YouTubers, resulting in huge tax losses for the Iberian economy.
When the famous YouTube star ElRubius announced last month that he is permanently moving to Andorra, the Spanish public became aware for the first time that the most popular YouTubers are leaving the country, taking their earnings with them as well.
The reason is very simple – Andorra has become a tax haven for this type of activity, measured by popularity, views, and hard cash in the bank. Since the year 2019. Andorra has allowed people to register YouTube as a business unit on its territory, and since then, and mostly during La Pandemia, many Spanish YouTubers have moved there.
But ElRubius is one of the most famous. This 30-year-old Spanish-Norwegian YouTube personality (not sure what other name for this profession we can choose) is the owner of the 36th-most-subscribed YouTube channel in the world. His gameplay videos have been entertaining viewers for the past ten years, and in that period his channel has grown to about 39 million subscribers and 9 billion views. If we know that YouTube pays 1 million views anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000, its total advertising revenues are estimated to be between $18m and $45m. And, as happens in the YouTube world, once you become popular, the earnings from your views are only a small part of your overall income: product promotions, affiliate marketing, and even direct sales greatly increase these figures. Not bad for a ten-year career.
In Spain, he would have paid up to 54% of his income in taxes, while in Andorra, the top income tax is only 10%. Hence the move.
The decision of ElRubius was criticised in the Spanish media as unpatriotic. In a country with a high youth unemployment rate, this kind of move was seen as an act of treason. ElRubius tried to justify his decision by saying that he wanted to live in a place with fewer movement restrictions and more anonymity. Although this argument was quite naive in the eyes of the Spanish public, his popularity on YouTube remained undeterred, and in fact, his subscription base even grew.
ElRubius is not the biggest name to leave. Previously, the move was made by a YouTuber called Vegetta777. In real life, he is Samuel De Luque, and only 31 years old. This Madrid YouTuber is the owner of the second most popular channel in Spain. It has fewer subscribers than ElRubius (32 million) but an amazing 14 billion views, which translates into revenue from $28 to $70m.
In Andorra, these two guys are going to be in good company. Their new neighbours will be “ALexBY11” (nine million subscribers, $5m in views), TheGregf (16.6 million subscribers, £16m in views) Willyrex (16.7 million subscribers, $18m in views), Lolito FDEZ (seven million subscribers and $3m in views) and Staxx (six million subscribers, 4 million USD in views).
And we’re only talking about Spanish YouTubers. There are quite a few other countries that have begun to lose their top earners, notably France and the Netherlands, but YouTubers are coming not only from Europe but from afar, seeking to combine a low tax rate with high internet speeds on offer in Andorra.
It is hard to believe that such a tax haven can exist in the heart of Europe, but it does. This is a loophole that will surely be closed at one stage, but, with the speed with which the EU is dealing with digital giants like Facebook and Google, the Spanish YouTube elite may have a long tax break for many years to come.
© Andorra is becoming a paradise for YouTubers – TheValencian – Valencia News