Sunday 22 April 2018

'New tax breaks would not tempt me home - they should take a different angle'

Fiona McEntee left Ireland in 2005 and now lives in Chicago
Fiona McEntee left Ireland in 2005 and now lives in Chicago

Sarah-Jane Murphy

It will take more than tax breaks to lure emigrants home, according to Fiona McEntee.

At 34, she is managing attorney at McEntee Law Group, an immigration law practice she established in Chicago in 2009. She is also the proprietor of Blowtique, a hair salon with two branches in downtown Chicago.

Aubrey Anderson stayed here as the recession took hold.
Aubrey Anderson stayed here as the recession took hold.

Fiona left Ireland in 2005, after graduating from UCD, and has since qualified as an attorney, married and had two young children.

"The new tax breaks announced by the Irish Government wouldn't tempt me to move home. The level at which I pay tax in the USA isn't crippling; I can live with it. America has been good to me," she said.

"I don't think I would have been in a position to develop a niche legal practice so soon in my career at home."

Read more: Special tax deal to lure emigrants with 'high skills' home

Giving her children an Irish upbringing is the only factor that would lead Fiona to consider a move back.

"Ireland is a very safe country in which to raise your kids; there's an excellent education system and also the support of my family and friends.

"In order to entice Irish graduates in their mid-to-late-30s, I think the Government need to take a different angle. Tax incentives aren't sufficient."

However, for those who stayed in Ireland, any tax breaks for emigrants is already being described as "grossly unfair".

Aubrey Anderson (39) is a director at MG Anderson Insurances Ltd and MG Anderson Property Management Ltd in Dún Laoghaire. Due to business and family commitments, he stayed here as the recession took hold, while friends emigrated to Australia, Hong Kong and the US.

He said: "I think these new tax breaks are grossly unfair to young working professionals who stayed at home, particularly those who had committed to a career and a mortgage, and didn't have the option of leaving."

He said they felt like "the forgotten middle".

Irish Independent

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