Top work from Niamh Horan at the Sunday Independent yesterday, reporting that one of the biggest potential problems with the Covid-19 outbreak is being addressed:

Irish billionaires who were in Ireland the day the lockdown came into place will get a free pass to stay here for as long as it lasts.

The Sunday Independent has learnt that the super-rich tax exiles will be covered by ‘extraordinary natural occurrences’ under residency rules.

The news comes as over 30 of the country’s wealthiest tycoons declared themselves non-resident for tax purposes – claiming status in countries such as Gibraltar and Monaco.

So, this is what the Taoiseach meant, obviously, when he said a few years ago that he was all for the working man who “got up early in the morning”. Though sadly, in this case, they did not get up early enough to catch their flights back to Malta and Monte Carlo.

Peadar Tóibín, and others, don’t think it’s fair, the commies:

The way being a tax exile works, if any of you ever want to try it, is that so long as you spend fewer than 183 days per calendar year in Ireland, you can be officially resident somewhere else and pay all of your taxes there, even as an Irish citizen. So you live six months of the year here in your mansion in Killiney, or your stud farm in south Kildare, and the other six months, presumably the winter, in your pied-à-terre in Monaco, and you pay all your income taxes to Prince Albert. And of course, Prince Albert has set the tax rate to…. zero per cent. What a top chap:

In Monaco, taxes are still as good as non-existent (unless you’re a resident of Monaco with the French nationality). Real estate in the Principality of Monaco is very expensive but you can always rent a small studio in Monaco where you ‘officially’ reside and simultaneously rent something roomier and more spacious in Nice or just across the border in Italy for example (in a discreet way to avoid trouble with the local tax authorities of these countries). Monaco is packed with celebrities who enjoy the pleasant (fiscal) climate, such as former James Bond – Roger Moore, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki, etc.

The absolute best bit of that story is what’s in bold there. If you ever wondered how some of these guys are so rich, the answer is that not only do they avoid taxes at home, but then when they get to Monaco they’re too cheap to pay the rents, and go right ahead and evade taxes in France and Italy, also. Inspirational – you should all be taking notes.

Anyway, the problem now is that some of these fellows are stuck here in Ireland and unable to make it back to sunnier climes on schedule, meaning that they’re technically going to be here for more days than is permissible. Ordinarily, this would mean paying Irish income taxes – for one year only, mind you – at the usual marginal rate of around 50% (when you take in all the various taxes they’d be paying).

Now, this is where they’ve gotten very lucky – because if we had a different Government, they might be treated like normal blokes and be asked to cough up the few million to help pay our nurses and doctors. A Government that wasn’t understanding, and sound, like our present leadership, might consider this to be a little windfall to help offset the financial problems that are coming.

It’s a dead cert, of course, that the Government is going to have to raise additional revenue in the budget later this year – higher taxes on ordinary plebs like you – and it must have been very tempting to say to the tax exiles stuck here “well, you’re as Irish as anyone else, you can fork over some cash”.

But no. As noted in one of those tweets above, the best way, it turns out, to get a special deal from Revenue is to pay them nothing at all.

Tremendous. Whenever I become a millionaire, I’m moving to Malta too. The rest of you suckers can stay here and keep paying taxes. The Government will treat me and my rich friends as a special case, you see.