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Ryanair Could Soon Move its Headquarters to Hungary (For Tax Purposes, Of Course)

Ryanair Could Soon Move its Headquarters to Hungary (For Tax Purposes, Of Course)

Claims: Ryanair Still Isn't Complying with Local Laws in New Cabin Crew Contracts

Ryanair could abandon its Irish heritage and move its corporate headquarters to another country if business tax rates were to rise under a Sinn Féin administration in the Republic of Ireland, the airline’s outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary has warned.

And if Ryanair does need to start looking for a new low-tax environment, the Dublin-based carrier could do a lot worse than moving to Hungary where rival European discounter Wizz Air is also based.

With a single corporate tax rate of just 12.5 per cent, Ireland has become a popular low-tax domicile for multinationals needing to set up business in the European Union.

In comparison, corporate tax rates in many European countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands can top 20 per cent.

But with talk that Sinn Féin (commonly known internationally from when it was the political wing of the IRA) could soon be heading to power in the Dáil Éireann, there are fears the party could start tinkering with tax rates.

“We may well look at moving the headquarters out of Ireland. If corporation tax rates start getting messed around with by a Sinn Féin government then yes, we would move. We wouldn’t have any difficulty leaving,” O’Leary was recently quoted as saying.

Ryanair was founded in 1984 in Ireland, and its corporate headquarters are in the Swords neighbourhood of Dublin.

While O’Leary recognises the symbolic connection that Ryanair has with Ireland, the 61-year-old Irish businessman wouldn’t be upset if he moved the airline’s headquarters out of Ireland.

“We see ourselves as a major European success story. We’re the number one airline in most of the European countries we operate. We’re proud of being Irish, but I wouldn’t die in a ditch over it,” O’Leary said.

Launching an attack on Sinn Féin, who he described as “economically illiterate”, O’Leary warned that “everyone will be fleeing the country in their droves” should they come to power when there are elections in 2025.

Should O’Leary need to go hunting for a new tax domicile for Ryanair, he could be tempted by Budapest’s cheap cost of living and Hungary’s single tax rate of just 9 per cent.

Other contenders of European countries with low tax rates include Bulgaria (15 per cent), Cyprus (12.5 per cent), Czech Republic (15 per cent) and Lithuania (15 per cent).

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