‘Cuckoo’ funds face higher stamp duty as new rules signed into law

Higgins signs legislation introduced after controversy over bulk sales to institutional investors

So-called "cuckoo" funds will now face higher stamp duties on bulk purchases made after May 20th, after President Michael D Higgins signed new laws governing the deals.

The new rules were introduced during the spring following a controversy over the bulk sales to institutional investors, after it emerged an entire housing estate in Maynooth, Co Kildare was to be sold to such a buyer.

Under the new laws, a higher 10 per cent stamp duty rate will be imposed on certain types of residential units - apartments and duplexes were excluded from the new rules due to fears around discouraging investment - where more than 10 units are acquired over a 12 month period.

Controversially, further carve-outs were inserted into the legislation when purchases are to provide long-term social housing leases to local authorities. The Government has argued the amendment allowing for this provision will protect social housing delivery.


The Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill also contains extensions to some of the financial supports being offered to businesses by the Government. It extends the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, designed to supplement workers’ wages when their employer’s turnover is hit, to the end of this year.

It also extends the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), which provides for direct payments to businesses unable to reopen due to public health measures to the end of the year. It puts into law enhanced sums to be paid on reopening as part of “restart weeks”, with firms reopening after June 2nd eligible for an amount equal to three weeks at double the normal rate of CRSS, subject to a maximum weekly amount of €10,000.

It also puts into law the new Business Resumption Support Scheme, specifically targeted at companies “significantly impacted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic”, whereby turnover was severely impacted. There are other provisions relating to tax warehousing for firms permitted under the various Government interventions in place to support the economy since last year.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times