Budget 2020

Budget 2020 was announced on 8 October 2019. This was Minister Donohoe's third Budget speech and, as has been the trend in recent years, many of the measures announced were leaked to the media well in advance.  It is the last budget that the coalition Government has agreed to support under the Confidence and Supply Agreement.  No "across the board" tax cuts were announced given the looming "Brexit cloud".

The Minister acknowledged that Brexit uncertainty hampered preparation for Budget 2020. His budget speech was littered with references to a possible no-deal Brexit and that it was designed to make Ireland "Brexit ready" (no-deal or otherwise). Time will tell if the Minister has in fact delivered a budget that is "Brexit proof".

The Government's commitment to Ireland's "competitive" 12.5% corporation tax rate was acknowledged and the Minister reiterated that this position will not be changing.

Given the tight budgetary parameters thrown up by a potential "no deal" Brexit, there was little in the way of tax cuts and initiatives in Budget 2020.  The focus was on keeping the Irish economy on the correct fiscal path and allocating funds where most required in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  Other than Brexit, the focus of many of the Minister's proposals was the chronic under-supply of housing in the Irish market. The measures announced will be funded from increases in the stamp duty rate applying on the transfer of non-residential property, excise duty on cigarettes/tobacco products and in carbon tax.

The introduction of anti-avoidance measures affecting IREFs and REITs from midnight on 8 October 2019 will have surprised many.

Full details of the budgetary measures will be set out in the Finance Bill, expected to be published on 17 October 2019.

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Department

  • There's a real broadness, a client states "You can talk to one person who has a legal, tax and international perspective all in one".  Other sources appreciate the client-centric service provided by team members: "We've got a great relationship with the team and we find them to be very effective. They really demonstrate their commitment to client service". ​Chamber Europe 2019  
  • "William Fry's commitment to client service is excellent", says one source, who also praises "their real breadth of knowledge and willingness to allocate the people required when there is a need for a quick turnaround." Another reports that the "technical depth, exposure and experience of the senior team set them apart." Chambers Europe 2018
  • "Sources assert that "from a technical perspective they are clear and direct." Interviewees also value the team's "responsiveness to client needs and commercial awareness." Chambers Europe 2017
  • William Fry’s practice includes Sonya Manzor, who ‘devises well-thought-out tax strategies’ for clients such as King Digital Entertainment. International tax specialist Shane Wallace recently handled various real estate tax structuring and transfer pricing issues. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • "The firm is very responsive and has great resources, including access to a global network of tax advisers, which benefits us internationally and is a fantastic asset. The firm's ability to provide both legal and tax advice really ensures everything fits together.Chambers Europe 2016
  • Martin Phelan leads a ‘highly professional’ team at William Fry. It advised the Department of Finance on the potential capital restructuring and sale of its 99% investment in Allied Irish Bank, and also assisted IAG and EirGen Pharma. The group also has a significant private client practice and notable property expertise. . Legal 500 EMEA 2016
  • "The lawyers are technically and commercially the best I have dealt with. I have always been very impressed with their well-thought-out and thorough advice. You can always get through to the partners and their brilliant associates." "This team is fantastic – always available and really responsive." Chambers Europe, 2015
  • "Martin Phelan's controversy practice is at the forefront of domestic contentious tax work and boasts an enviable client list." Who's Who Legal - Corporate Tax 2015 
  • William Fry’s ‘hands-on, straight-talking and practical approach’ finds favour with clients. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • "One of the most conscientious firms I have dealt with." "The team is knowledgeable and integrates well with other departments, which is very helpful." Chambers Europe, 2014 

Team

  • Martin Phelan
    • Martin Phelan International tax specialist Martin Phelan is described as a "top guy" and "very switched-on." Chambers Europe 2017
    • Leading consultant Martin Phelan is praised for "cutting to the chase" and being "technically very good."  Chambers Global, 2015 
    • Martin Phelan is 'extremely efficient and effective'.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Martin Phelan is widely agreed to be one of the leading tax practitioners in Ireland. Clients appreciate that "he has his eye on the ball. He works with you one-on-one and has an ability to react very quickly." Chambers Global, 2014 
  • Sonya Manzor 
    • "I really admire the way that Manzor is able to review advice and drill into the key technical points and make very sensible, constructive comments on the tax issues," enthuses one highly impressed interviewee. Chambers Europe 2019
    • The "outstanding" Sonya Manzor is a key name in the corporate tax space. Legal 500 2018 
    • Clients describe her as "a very talented individual and creative thinker." She assisted with the sale of Phillips 66's interests in the Whitegate Oil Refinery. Chambers Europe 2018
    • Sonya Manzor is "well renowned for her technical expertise in a broad spectrum of tax matters, including inward investment, corporate reorganisations and M&A transactions". Chambers Europe 2017
    • Sonya Manzor is the firm's most prominent corporate tax lawyer, coming recognised for her "tremendous knowledge and experience. She understands direct and indirect tax in Ireland, the EU and the US. She is instrumental in coming up with creative ideas to get around the problems we face." Chambers Europe 2016
    • Sonya Manzor is "decisive and proficient, and knows about corporate issues. She also won't back down, but nor will she pick a fight for the sake of it."Chambers Global, 2015
    • Sonya Manzor "provides creative solutions". Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • Ted McGrath
    • Ted McGrath debuts in the rankings this year on the back of strong client endorsements. "McGrath gives very pragmatic and direct advice," reports one pleased client, adding: "He can weigh up the commercial aspects of the deal." Chambers Europe 2019

Key Contacts

Martin Phelan Consultant

Sonya Manzor Partner

Brian Duffy Partner