McIlroy becomes Dubai tax exile
The Palm, Dubai

The Palm, Dubai

Call it PR or spin but while on Friday the Irish public was being told that Rory McIlroy was doing his bit for the Irish economy by paying corporate tax on royalties here, The Sunday Times reports today that the world No 1 is now a registered tax exile in Dubai when it comes to the lion's share of his fortune.  

"Rory McIlroy spurns tax havens to base global interests in Ireland," trumpeted the Irish Independent as many around the country threw eyes to heaven. 

"The Irish Independent understands McIllroy, who is currently the world's top golfer, will file documents to create a new company - known as Rory McIlroy Inc - with the Companies Registration Office in Carlow today," ran the piece.

"The new company, headed by Donal Casey, will manage all the royalty payments from the golf star's various endorsements for Nike sportswear, Omega watches and, most recently, computer games."

The publicly available CRO filings picked up by The Sunday Times showed that McIlroy has swapped Monaco for Dubai when it comes to tax residency.

Colin Coyle reports that Palm Jumeirah Island is now his primary residence in the "tax-free statelet popular with celebrities and sports stars."

"While McIlroy’s new address was redacted in some of the documents, a trademark application included his new place of residence," The Sunday Times say.

Previously a tax exile in Monaco, where former fiancée Caroline Wozniacki still has her base, McIlroy intends to (as the Independent reported) pay 12.5 percent Irish corporate tax on royalty payments, such as his lucrative new deal with video game giants EA SPORTS.

But his appearance fees, winnings and endorsements from sponsors such as Nike, Bose and Omega, will be tax free.

According to The Sunday Times, last week the share capital of McIlroy’s Irish company was increased to €25m in anticipation the windfall from the EA SPORTS franchise that reportedly earned Tiger Woods €90m during his 15 years as the face of the PGA Tour computer game.

"The four-time major champion’s main place of residence is the Adriatic building in Oceana, a residential development in the 'trunk' of the Palm Jumeirah archipelago..."

Interestingly, the ST also reports that McIlroy Has been trying to close down his UK holding company, Boywood Ltd, since November but Britain’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has prevented the company from being dissolved.

"Terry Prone, a spokeswoman for the golfer, said this weekend the liquidation was now complete and HMRC would confirm this shortly by permitting the company to be dissolved, " Coyle writes.

McIlroy's business arrangements are nothing unusual for high earning sports stars and his connection with Dubai goes back to his amateur days.

Not only was Jumeirah his first big sponsor, he announced his $100m Nike deal in the UAE, has twice won the Dubai Desert Classic and does at least a week of off season preparation in the emirate every January.

He also helped secure Dubai Duty Free as a sponsor for the Irish Open.