Tom Maguire: Close company tax rules can make the ‘innocent suffer for the guilty’

The Revenue now has other measures to counter tax avoidance, and could ease off on its 18-month profit payout rule, which can punish owners for reinvesting in their business

If a close company doesn’t pay out certain investment profits to its owners within 18 months, then those profits will be liable to a 20 per cent surcharge

Closely held companies get special treatment in the taxes acts, and not in a good way. A close company is defined in tax law in a complex manner, but the nutshell version is one that’s controlled by five or fewer “participators”, or any number of participators who are directors.

A participator is, broadly speaking, any person with a share or interest in the capital or income of the respective company. Therefore, close companies can comprise ...