Going Dutch

In my weekend column, I mentioned that the IRS had paid $27,500 for someone to fly in to their Anaheim conference to paint a portrait of Bono, which is apparently vital to the work of the agency’s Self-Employed/Small Business Division:

Bono is the veteran Irish rocker knighted by the Queen for his tireless campaign on behalf of debt forgiveness, which doesn’t sound the IRS’s bag at all. But don’t worry, debt forgiveness-wise Bono has Africa in mind, not New Jersey.

Back home, alas, Bono isn’t “feeling the love”. Today’s Irish Independent reports:

U2 made known their displeasure to the Government following a speech given by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton about the band moving part of their rock empire to Holland for tax reasons, it has been learnt…

A government source last night described the band’s unhappiness with Ms Burton’s speech, saying: “The boys aren’t feeling the love.”

Last month, in a speech, Ms Burton became the first government minister to directly criticise U2’s move to Holland to avail of lower taxes, following the introduction of the cap on the artists’ tax exemption. This newspaper first revealed the band’s controversial move to Holland in August 2006 and their collaboration with Amsterdam-based tax adviser Jan Favie, who has also worked with the Rolling Stones.

By moving their publishing to Holland, U2 – lead singer Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jnr, as well as their manager Paul McGuinness – were able to legitimately avoid paying tax on their royalties.

For their next motivational speaker, instead of flying in Bono’s portrait painter, the IRS should fly in Bono’s tax lawyer.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist. That’s to say, his latest book, After America (2011), is a top-five bestseller in ...

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