Walford stamp duty appeal cannot be reconsidered

An appeal by a company owned by developer Sean Dunne’s son John over a €1.4 million stamp duty bill on the 2013 sale of the house “Walford” on Shrewsbury Road, Dublin, should not be reconsidered, a High Court judge ruled.

Last month, the court found Yesreb Holdings was liable for €1.4 million on the sale of Walford, one time the country’s most expensive house when it was sold for €57 million. Yesreb had argued the duty should only be €270,000.

Sean Dunne bought Walford in 2005 for €57 million and held it in the Matsack Nominees trust for his now ex-wife Gayle Killilea. The couple never lived there.

In 2013, while it was still in Matsack, it was sold for €14m to Yesreb Holding, a Cypriot company owned by John Dunne and held for the benefit of John and his three siblings. It was later sold for €14.25m to another trust, Celtic Trustees, which was set up by financier Dermot Desmond for the benefit of his children.

Yesreb paid €270,000 in stamp duty based on the 2013 purchase price. But in 2016 Revenue assessed the amount payable, inclusive of the €57 million 2005, price at around €1.4 million. This included a deduction for interest due which was around the same amount already paid by Yesreb.

Yesreb appealed and a Tax Appeals Commissioner in 2019 upheld the Revenue assessment.

The Commissioner then stated a case to the High Court to determine if she was correct in law at the request of Yesreb.


Last month, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor found the Commissioner was correct.

The case returned before the judge on Wednesday for post-judgment submissions from the parties before final orders were made.

Counsel for Yesreb urged the judge to remit the case stated back to the Commissioner for fresh consideration. Revenue opposed the application.

Mr Justice O’Connor found he did not have the power under law to send it back to the Commissioner on the basis sought by Yesreb and he rejected the application.

He also ordered Yesreb to pay the costs of the case and granted a stay in the event of an appeal.


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