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There's an art to paying your taxes.

Byline: Murphy's Law

WASN'T the Bank of Ireland's tax deal with the Revenue Commissioners last week amazing?

The struggling bank, whose shares lost 95 per cent of their value in just one year, have had to seek a guarantee from the government and clearly need every penny they can get.

So you have to congratulate them for cutting a deal whereby they handed over 25 paintings from their corporate art collection in return for EUR2million off their tax bill.

Fair enough, they did hand over some valuable art in return for the tax rebate. There is at least one Jack B Yeats painting heading into State ownership.

Not that the bank will miss these paintings, though. They've got 2,000 in their collection in total. Which is sure to impress their angry shareholders who are wondering where their money went.

They're not the first bank to cut this sort of deal either. AIB trousered over a million in tax rebates in return for handing over James Joyce's Finnegans Wake papers to the Government. Apparently, an obscure 1997 provision in the tax laws allows anyone to offer "items of heritage" in place of cash when paying their taxes.

But Murphy wonders why the Revenue is accepting paintings when the country is so short of cash. And what if this starts a trend? Most of us are so short that a lot more people might try paying their evergrowing tax bill with art.

THE blue flu affecting Fianna Fail MEPs seems to be catching. Last week, Murphy told you how Dublin candidate Eoin Ryan has adopted the blue of Fine Gael for his election posters, relegating the FF logo to a postage stamp size at the bottom. Now Brian Crowley has joined the trend. His website also has a fetching blue-onblue colour scheme and a tiny FF logo. Are the Brussels contingent embarrassed to be members of the Soldiers of Destiny? Well, Murphy could hardly blame them...
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 3, 2009
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