Icelandic post-rock outfit Sigur Ros were indicted on tax evasion charges by Iceland’s directorate of Internal Revenue (The RSK) last year, leading the group to pay back 150 percent of these taxes for the period between 2011 to 2014. Despite this payment and the failure of the RSK to prove that the band purposefully evaded taxes, the band are now facing an additional charge of gross negligence over the same case.
If found guilty for gross negligence over these taxes, the band would be forced to pay an additional 200 percent on their taxes, in addition to the 150 percent already paid. This would also be in addition to another sizable fine, which could force the band to liquidate their properties and lose their homes. The original ruling also caused each of the band members to have their assets frozen immediately, as they were reportedly valued at well in excess of the value of the outstanding taxes and fines.
Sigur Ros claims that they missed payments due to an error on behalf of their former accountant, who worked for business management giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (considered one of the largest accounting firms) before operating his own firm. The band’s members have since condemned what they described as a “draconian” and “unjust” tax system in Iceland.
“We have always provided our full cooperation to all investigations and reached an agreement with the Icelandic tax authorities to pay what we owed plus interest and fines,” the band’s four members Kjartan Sveinsson, Jonsi Birgisson, Georg Holm and Orri Dyrason wrote in a joint statement. “However, in the intervening years we have become victims of an unjust and draconian prosecution by the Icelandic government who are unfairly seeking to portray us as deliberate tax evaders, something we have always and continue to strongly deny.”