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Sigur Rós Reportedly Investigated For Tax Evasion, Then Cleared

The Icelandic post-rockers said in a statement that they had £5.7 million worth of assets frozen thanks to an accounting error.

by Phil Witmer
19 March 2018, 9:17am

Photo by Stefan Hoederath/Redferns


Sigur Rós have made such cosmic music for so many years that the idea of them being bound by such earthly and dull ideas as taxes is baffling, but lo and behold, they are not entirely immune. As initially reported by several Icelandic newspapers and aggregated by the Reykjavik Grapevine, members of the band had about 800 million Icelandic krónur (~£5.7 million) worth of their assets frozen by Iceland's Directorate of Tax Investigations for alleged tax evasion. While it's kind of baller to see that Jónsi owns "thirteen properties" and "two motorcycles," tax evasion is objectively not baller.

Fortunately, this story has a happy but still kind of confusing ending. According to Sigur Ros drummer Georg Hólm, the charges were the result of an accounting mishap, saying to Icelandic paper Morgunblaðið that "it turned out [our accountant] hadn’t handed in the right documents at the right time. This is nothing but a complete mess that we had no knowledge of until we were notified by the Commissioner.” A statement provided to Noisey by representatives for Sigur Ros, confirms that not only was the investigation the result of human error, but that the band has paid off the debt entirely and are cleared of all charges. The statement follows in full:

Sigur Rós have nothing to hide and have fully complied relevant information to the director of tax investigations (SRS) to resolve any and all issues. The band had an accounting relationship with PWC in Iceland from the beginning of their career until 2012, when they followed their long-standing accountant to his new venture Ryni Endurskodun. Late in 2014 the band were alerted that they had not filed correct tax returns for some years during the period 2010-2014. Part of the tax returns during that period were not filed correctly and that is not disputed by the band. This notification from the SRS was a surprise to the band as its members were all along in good faith that their tax returns were being submitted correctly by the accountant handling their affairs. This was disappointing to Sigur Rós and its members as they have from the beginning emphasised that their tax returns ought to be filed correctly in Iceland.

The band moved to accountancy firm, Virtus, at the start of 2015 to begin the process of getting their tax returns into correct form in accordance with the law. The band understand the SRS’s need to do their job, but would have preferred something less heavy-handed than the asset freeze. Especially because the bands members have from the start of the investigation co-operated fully with the directorate, submitted all information requested by the authorities and there was no need to freeze the assets of the members of Sigur Rós. This is in accordance with the opinion of the lawyers of Sigur Rós at LOGOS legal services.

There are several jokes you could make about the band being from Iceland and having their assets literally frozen but I'm not going to make them.

Phil is on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.

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