Thursday 12 December 2019

The Punt: Now tax laws are back under the spotlight

John Malone
John Malone

Continuing the property theme of sorts (the boom really has to be back at this rate), our attention was drawn yesterday to a Bloomberg story highlighting the tax affairs of John Malone.

For those of you who don't know him, Malone is an Irish-American billionaire who for years was best known as the media mogul behind Liberty Global - the parent of cable TV provider UPC.

More recently though he has been hoovering up about €160m worth of property in Ireland, including the likes of Humewood Castle and the Westin Hotel in Dublin.

Bloomberg's Jesse Drucker, who apparently specialises in tax reporting, writes that Malone managed to cut his personal income tax bill by about $200m (€160m) as a result of Liberty Global moving its corporate HQ to London from the US. The move also saved Libery Global's shareholders an estimated $1bn. This was a perfectly legal move, of course.

The report highlight's Malone's property deals here, and the tax benefits they garnered.

In particular, it highlights the capital gains tax exemption for investors buying Irish real estate who hold onto it for seven years. That exemption will expire at the end of December this year.

Malone has never referenced the exemption when doing deals here, but it's fortunate that it is ending in two months' time. After all, we've had enough hassle over tax from the international community in recent months.


Are you Reit there Michael?

We are convinced. The property crash is over. The 2007 crash anyway.

What finally decided it, you wonder? Double-digit price increases, queues outside properties, falling rental and investment yields, or the Nama brain drain?

Not a bit of it.

It was the news that Dublin property professionals have definitively come out of hiding - literally (possibly) with bells on.

Musicians and dancers from the sector are coming together for a "Dublin's Got Talent" charity event on November 5.

Hosted by TV presenter Brian Ormond, the event will be hosted by Savills and the Ballsbridge Hotel and is to raise money for the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

We're confidently predicting at least one version of 'I'm Still Standing' from among the assembled estate agents.

Whether Indo Commercial Property Editor Peter Flanagan's notorious Dance of the Seven Veils features remains a closely-guarded secret.

Finding out costs €750 for a table of 10 and details are available through


Of mice and Norwegians

Norwegian Air Shuttle is not a lucky airline.

Plans to base the carrier in Dublin have run into fierce opposition from US pilots and this is not a constituency to be taken lightly.

In September, US authorities dealt a seemingly fatal blow to Norwegian's plans to offer low-cost transatlantic flights when they stalled a licence application from the airline's Irish subsidiary.

The parent airline, which currently operates out of Norway, is also being plagued by costly flight delays on its long-haul routes, and was forced to delay a flight to New York by five hours recently because of a hunt for a mouse in the cockpit.

"The pilots discovered a mouse on flight deck," spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh told Reuters. "We had to make sure that no cables or wires had been chewed. "This does not happen very often, but it does happen from time to time."

The Punt is not scared of mice but the thought of being trapped in a tin can with scores of screaming passengers does not appeal.

Norwegian became the only European budget carrier last year to fly long-haul routes, but a string of technical troubles with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners delayed many of its flights, leaving passengers stranded at airports from Bangkok to Florida.

The airline has since improved its reliability, but it runs its Dreamliners 18 hours a day; far more than traditional carriers, so even small delays can cause significant delays.

Irish Independent

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