Airbnb says planning rules hit family visitors, U2 to lose Dutch tax loophole

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk


Airbnb claims the planning guidelines for short-term lettings make it an unaffordable destination for families. The American short-term letting focused company has taken issue with a circular sent by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in October. It reminds local councils of existing rules requiring landlords to apply for change of use permission if they wish to let out their properties on a short term basis. One of Airbnb’s concerns was that the guidelines would restrict families larger than four people from renting apartments in the Republic.

The low-tax music could soon be over for U2 and the Rolling Stones as the Netherlands plans to close a loophole that rock bands use for royalty payments. The Netherlands is reforming its tax system to clean up its image and lure real investment rather than shell companies to the country.

US supreme court justices on Tuesday began deliberations on Microsoft’s dispute with the US justice department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signalling support for the government’s position. The case began when Microsoft baulked at handing over a criminal suspect’s emails stored on the firm’s computer servers in Dublin in a drug-trafficking case.

In what could turn into one of the biggest bidding wars this year Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the US has offered to pay $31 billion (€25.3 billion) to buy Sky, the European pay-TV group that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox has already agreed to buy.

Field engineers working for BT Ireland are to go on strike for several days next month in a dispute over collective bargaining and a planned redundancy programme. The Communications Workers Union (CWU) said the dispute had arisen following an announcement by BT Ireland that it intended to make a group of engineers employed by the company redundant and replace them with cheaper labour.

In what is undoubtedly another nail in diesel’s coffin, Germany’s top administrative court has ruled that German cities have the right to ban diesel cars, in a move that could have far-reaching consequences for the owners of some 12 million vehicles in Europe’s largest auto market.

In his column this week Ciarán Hancock warns that while a lot of good work has been done to respond to rising insurance costs, the fear is that the focus of our minority Government has shifted to other issues.

In commercial property Jack Fagan reports on the arrival of UK retail outlet The White Company to Dublin’s Grafton Street early this summer, while he also report son how global invstor Hines ha snapped up shops, offices and apartments on Dublin’s South King Street, paying €165 million.