THE HIGH COURT has upheld a ruling by the Revenue Appeals Commissioner that Denis O’Brien is not liable for a €57 million tax bill.
The Inspector of Taxes had argued that the billionaire should pay €56.86 million in Capital Gains Tax on the €284.8 million received when Esat Digifone was sold to British Telecom in 2000.
In her judgement, Justice Mary Laffoy ruled that 6 Raglan Road – which O’Brien bought in 2000 – was not the permanent residence of the businessman during the 2000/2001 tax year.
Under Ireland and Portugal’s Double Taxation Convention, then, O’Brien is not liable for the tax bill.
Justice Laffoy said she was satisfied that the Appeal Commissioner did not adopt a wrong or mistaken view of the law.
She agreed that O’Brien lived in Portugal at the time of the sale. Revenue had argued the point but the Court found the premises were “unavailable for residential use” during June 2000 and February 2002 because of commissioned works.
Originally published 15:11