Not my work at all, but this is interesting:
Michael O'Leary's Ryanair effectively paid no corporate tax in its 2009 financial year, despite generating record sales of nearly €3bn.
The low-cost airline -- now Europe's biggest -- ended up with a €1.5m tax refund, more than cancelling out the modest €425,000 it owed in taxes at year end, according to expert analysis of its financial statements carried out for the Sunday Independent last week.
And this despite the fact that:
Last week, Michael O'Leary announced that the airline was to pay a special dividend of €500m to its shareholders, with another €500m possibly paid out before 2013.
The money is there all right, but:
A key part of the tax reduction strategy was to offset allowances generated during its vast €4bn airplane-buying spree against its earnings. Ryanair was also able to legally avoid paying tax as, despite its record revenues, the company took a €220m hit on the value of its stake in Aer Lingus and used up various other tax allowances, according to financial information in its annual report. Ryanair subsequently reported a pre-tax loss of €180m for the year ending March 2009.
By using various allowances and accountancy methods, Ryanair has been able to keep its average corporate tax rate at well below the current 12.5 per cent Irish tax rate.
While the year to March 2009 saw the airline pay no tax, other years were almost as low. Annual reports reveal it had an effective tax rate of just 3.4 per cent in 2007, with an effective tax rate of 9.4 per cent in 2006.
So, Ryanair is making money, making sales, expanding fast, paying dividends and not paying tax. That's the Clectic Tiger at play. And this is what the ConDems want for Northen Ireland even though:
Last week, [the Irish] Exchequer returns revealed the shocking state of government coffers. Corporation tax receipts have fallen off a cliff, with the latest projection suggesting that companies will pay 19 per cent less tax this year. Just €3.16bn is expected to be paid in corporation tax this year, down from €3.9bn last year.