O'DONNELLS FAIL TO REVERSE RULING ON UK BANKRUPTCY - Property investors Brian and Mary Patricia O'Donnell have lost their bid to get a High Court judge in London to reverse his decision in December refusing them the right to go bankrupt in the UK, rather than in the Republic, writes the Irish Times. Mr Justice Guy Newey in the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice said that only "exceptional circumstances" would justify the reopening of a decision already made, particularly when the issues had been heard at a full trial. The judge rejected last December 21st an application by the couple lodged in March that they be allowed to become bankrupt in the UK - which was strongly rejected by Bank of Ireland which wants to bankrupt them in the Republic. The couple returned to court to argue that Mr Justice Newey should set aside his December ruling under Section 375.1 of the 1986 Insolvency Act which allowed him to "rescind, review or vary" a judgment if circumstances demand. However, Mr Justice Newey said such an order could only be made if there were "exceptional circumstances" or if there was a material difference in the information put before the court after a ruling. On Monday, Mr O'Donnell, who represented himself and his wife, had argued that letters showing they had notified creditors other than Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank of their move to London in late 2011 should be considered by the judge.
MORE THAN 90% OF HOMEOWNERS ARE EXPECTED TO PAY PROPERTY TAX - Homeowners have been warned it will be up to them to notify Revenue that they are liable for the new property tax if they do not receive notification about it. And more than nine out of 10 people are expected to pay the controversial tax, according to experts. Letters and emails to more than 1.6 million homeowners are due to be sent from Monday, with details of the due payment. But any homeowner who does not get a letter will be liable to contact Revenue themselves, according to the Irish Tax Institute. "Even if you hear nothing from Revenue and do not get a letter, you will need to act yourself," said the institute's Una Maguire. Everyone who owns a home will be required to file a property-tax return to Revenue. There is a fine of up to 3,000 for failing to do so. Ms Maguire said the way the legislation was framed put the onus on the taxpayer to correctly assess the tax due. Those who do get a letter but are not due to pay the tax - because they do not own a home - have just 30 days to tell Revenue that they are not liable.
NOONAN DEFENDS HIS 'PROGRESSIVE' BUDGETS - The fiscal consolidation measures introduced by this Government are among the most progressive in OECD countries, according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan. The Irish Examiner said that Mr Noonan, who was appearing before the Oireachtas Finance Committee on the Finance Bill, had to fend off sustained attacks from People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett, Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty and Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath, and claims that the past two Government budgets have favoured the better-off at the expense of the more marginalised in society. "A research study conducted by the European Commission shows that the fiscal consolidation has been very progressive," said Mr Noonan. "It shows that 30% of the burden has been should by the 10% highest earners." Mr Barrett proposed an amendment that people earning below €60,000 a year should be excluded from the universal social charge (USC). Mr Noonan said this demographic pays €2.4 billion of the €4 billion raised in total USC payments every year, and criticised Mr Barrett for making this proposal without outlining where the Government can generate the funds to replace the €2.4 billion.
OSBORNE TO HAND CARNEY MORE POWERS - George Osborne’s Budget will pave the way for Mark Carney, incoming Bank of England governor, to come to the rescue of the economy as the chancellor sets the scene for a new era of looser monetary policy. The chancellor is resisting suggestions by Vince Cable, business secretary, that he should boost growth by relaxing his Plan A with a new programme of spending on schools, roads and housing - funded by extra borrowing, says the Financial Times. Instead Mr Osborne will use his Budget on March 20 to reinforce his message of “fiscal conservatism and monetary activism” by clarifying how the government intends to use monetary policy to get the economy growing again. Treasury officials are discussing proposals to change the remit of the bank to coincide with the arrival of Mr Carney as the governor in July, reflecting frustration at what was seen as previous BoE intransigence. The government expects the BoE to think afresh about monetary policy under the leadership of the Canadian central banker at a time when Mr Osborne’s fiscal room for manoeuvre is highly constrained.