Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bono runs from the Irish tax man.

EU: Not so happy paying into the system eh Bono?

The rock band U2 came under criticism yesterday after reports that it has moved a portion of its multi-million-pound business empire out of Ireland for tax reasons. The band, fronted by Bono, the anti-poverty campaigner, has reportedly transferred some of its publishing company to Holland. Based in Dublin, U2 have long benefited from the artists' tax exemption introduced by Charles Haughey, the late prime minister. It is reported that the band's move has been made in response to a £170,000 cap on the tax-free incomes introduced in the last Irish budget. Joan Burton, Irish Labour's finance spokesman, said: "Having listened to Bono on the necessity for the Irish Government to give more money to Ireland Aid, of which I approve, I am surprised that U2 are not prepared to contribute to the Exchequer on a fair basis along with the bulk of Irish taxpayers. "I share Bono's desire to see more resources devoted to Ireland Aid but it is more difficult to make a case for it if everyone is not willing to be part of the social contract that stipulates that everybody should pay their fair share in what is a low-tax country." Ireland Aid is the channel by which the Irish government helps developing countries. It would appear that U2 are following the example of the Rolling Stones, who went to a Dutch finance house in 1972. Until recently U2 Ltd, which deals with the band's royalty payments, estimated to be worth one third of the band's £460 million fortune, was based in Dublin. According to documents seen by the Ireland on Sunday newspaper, the company opened up in Amsterdam on June 1. One of its directors is listed as Jan Favie, a Dutch financial consultant who is also the managing director of similar Dutch-based firms owned by the Rolling Stones.
Help the poor! Just not with U2's money.

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