The latest proposed amendments to the Irish taxation of real estate funds (IREFs) were published on 6 November 2017. 

As highlighted in a previous update, prior to the publication of Finance Bill 2017, profits derived from land held for 5 years could be exempt from the 20% IREF withholding tax introduced in 2016. 

The Minister for Finance indicated that this 5 year exemption was being reviewed. The Minister has now proposed that it should be abolished with effect from 19 October 2017.  Assuming no further amendments are introduced, the change will become law when the Finance Act is approved in mid-December 2017.

Although this 5 year exemption had a very narrow focus, investors relying upon it will be disappointed that it has been abolished merely one year after its introduction. It may require investors to reassess the tax profile of investments in Irish real estate funds. If profits from the sale of land which had been held for 5 years remain to be distributed, it may be necessary to now deduct 20% of the profit distributed.