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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Intellectual Property Rights: image rights: non-UK image rights

In any case where there is said to have been a disposal of non-UK image rights, it would be sensible to find out -

  • what rights exist in the jurisdiction concerned?;
  • whether there is any administrative requirement in that jurisdiction to establish legal protection for image rights (e.g. registration)?;
  • whether there is any evidence that such rights are respected (is there any evidence of an enforcement regime?) and are capable of being turned to account?; and
  • whether the rights are capable of transfer?

In order to avoid the need to ask questions for every territory (many disposals of non-UK image rights will purport to be of rights “in the rest of the world”) it may be sensible to focus on value. In many cases a celebrity’s image may be only recognised in a few countries, or protection of intellectual property in some jurisdictions may be too weak to give image rights a significant value, even if there is in principle some form of legal protection.

It may also be argued that a non-UK image right is a non-UK situs asset for the purposes of the rules that determine the location of an asset in Section 275 TCGA1992 CG12420. If this is correct, a disposal offshore by a non-UK domiciled** individual to an offshore company is not within the charge to CGT, unless there is a remittance to the UK.

The strength of this argument will depend on the facts but it may beg the question whether such image rights exist and, if so, are they capable of transfer? It may be that the disposal is actually of the goodwill of the business carried out in the UK, or of UK contractual rights. For example, a Premier League footballer may be entitled to payment from his club under what purports to be a licence to the club of his non-UK image rights. If the rights to the payment are transferred to an offshore company that might be a transfer of UK contractual rights.

** For years from 2017/18 consideration would also need to be given to see if the individual was deemed domiciled. If an individual is deemed domilciled they cannot claim the remittance basis. Guidance on deemed domicile is within the Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual.