Glam pop group ABBA’s exotic stage outfits were not so much part of their act as a way to claim a tax break.
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The chart toppers from the 1970s were renowned for snug fitting trouser suits with glittering accessories.
But according to band member Björn Ulvaeus, sharp accountants told them to go for the glitz as they could set off the cost of their stage outfits against tax as long as they were so outrageous they could not be worn as every day clothing.
Ulvaeus disclosed the revealing outfits that were so much part of the group’s success in his new book about ABBA’s stardom.
“I honestly believe we looked like complete nuts in those years we were in the charts. No one was as badly dressed on stage as we were advised to be,” he said.
Battles with the tax man
The group hit the big time after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the iconic Waterloo.
After that, the group and Ulvaeus in particular had several run-ins with the Swedish tax authorities.
In 2007, he was challenged for failing to pay nearly £8 million in tax on his earnings from the group’s chart hits. He successfully won an appeal.
“I have it in writing from the tax man that I have always done the right thing concerning my taxes,” he said.
Other celebrities have not had so much luck in their battles with the tax man.
Hollywood superstar Nicolas Cage was chased by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the States for £3.8 million after hiring a dodgy accountant and blames his need for the cash as the reason why he has appeared in so many average films.
Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona has a well-documented history as a two-time bankrupt after squandering her share of the fortune the group made with songs like Whole of Me, which soared to number one in 18 countries.
One of the bankruptcies was due to a massive tax bill from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Even Michael Jackson, one of the biggest earning stars of all time was declared bankrupt mainly due to his excessive spend, spend, spend attitude towards the money pit of his Neverland ranch.
Rumoured to broke around the time of his death, his estate is only back in the black after fans put their hands in their pockets for memorabilia, back catalogue albums and the a hugely successful Cirque du Soleil stage show based on his songs.
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