Kathy Johnson

Partner, London

Kathy Johnson

Kathy is a partner and a member of the firm’s Sports & Entertainment Group, specialising in advising individuals and organisations active in all areas of sport, TV, film, theatre and music.

Kathy ensures that clients who perform around the world are compliant in terms of both tax and social security contributions and she advises on mitigating tax where possible in every territory they visit. She regularly travels to the USA for client meetings, and is able to advise on both state and federal tax clearances for artists touring the USA. Kathy also has extensive experience of negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs in the UK, to settle enquiries on behalf of entertainers.

Having represented the world’s highest profile entertainers, Kathy has helped underpin the financial success of some of the biggest performance events in the world, working across almost every tax jurisdiction. Her work has included producing production budgets and working with tour managers and artists’ teams to achieve the most cost-effective staging of a performance and, crucially, ensuring cash flow.

Kathy works closely with Pete Hackleton and Julian Hedley, and she has actively lobbied to change tax legislation for non-resident entertainers in the UK for the past 10 years. She joined Saffery in 2011 from RSM Tenon, where she spent the previous 16 years also working on behalf of clients in the sports and entertainment sectors.

Key experience

  • Advising on the ‘taxation of non-resident sports people and entertainer’ specific tax rules,
  • Working within the double tax treaty network to minimise the tax liabilities of touring artists,
  • Mitigation and reduction of withholding taxes around the world for film and TV talent,
  • Working within the Reciprocal Agreements Network to reduce social security liabilities,
  • Advising on contractual arrangements for performers to reduce local taxes (wherever in the world an event takes place),
  • Advising on the UK’s statutory residence test and its effect on inbound film and TV crews,
  • Negotiating VAT refunds for touring artists throughout the world after events have taken place,
  • Advising individuals in the sports and entertainment arena on tax filing obligations and managing the tax return process on their behalf.


Outside work, Kathy likes to socialise with her friends, cook and spend time with her family. Kathy also loves playing tennis, visiting the gym, and enjoys travelling.