Property investor Keir Howe transfers his wealth to his son in Switzerland – NRK Westland

Property investor Keir Howe transfers his wealth to his son in Switzerland – NRK Westland

The website estimates that property investor Keir Howe (63) had assets of NOK 4 billion at the start of 2024. Capital. He was one of Bergen's richest men.

Through Realforum Groupon, he owns several large and well-known properties in the city centre.

Nightlife Bergen, Zachariasbrikken

Zachariasbryggen has seven bars and is close to the Bryggen in central Bergen.

Meat Bazaar

The meat market near Floen was built in 1877 in the Neo-Romanesque style and is a well-known landmark in Bergen. Today it houses a cafe, a bar and several restaurants.

Torgallmenningen outdoor seating in rainy weather

9 and 10 Torkalmenning in the heart of Bergen's large pedestrian street. These include a hotel and several shops.

Now most of the shares of the company along with the taxable assets have been transferred to his son Matthias Toppe Hoe in Switzerland.

Father Keir lives in Bergen and controls the company through a minority of so-called A shares. As a result, he saves billions in property taxes.

– Without taking this step, I will not be able to compete in the Norwegian property market against those who have left, and will no longer be able to pay property taxes, he tells NRK.

In an interview Bergen's Dente Howe said last year that overseas actors “are competing in spiked shoes while others have to use slalom boots”.

– As for Matthias, he is growing well in Switzerland and I am afraid he will stay there. But after the next general election I hope there will be a mass immigration from Switzerland to Norway.

I think staying again is hopeless

Bergen's biggest billion-dollar assets have been transferred from Norway to Switzerland in the past two years.

According to Finsavicen It now manages 40 percent of the country's largest assets from abroad.

Howe believes the situation is hopeless for those who have chosen to stay in Norway when the immigration wave begins in 2022.

– Wealth and property taxes eat into what could be reinvested in the green transition, while interest rates drive down the value of commercial property.

Hotel Norway Bergen

Howe owns both the Hotel Norge (pictured) and the Clarion Hotel in Bergen.

Photo: Agnieszka Ivanska

After he renovated the flagship Hotel Norge building in central Bergen, property taxes went from NOK 1.8 to 4.1 million a year as the building was reassessed, says Howe.

– That tax is payable irrespective of whether I have good profit that year.

– It is not about increasing wealth or saving personal tax. This is to secure the future of the company. I don't need a lot of money myself, so to speak, says Howe.

Tax lists for 2023 are not ready yet. But in 2022, Howe had a net worth of more than NOK 1 billion, and a net income of almost NOK 4 million.

The calculated tax then was NOK 13 million.

Economist: – Not a good thing

R Ost is a professor at NTNU's School of Economics and Business and vice president of the university's Center for Housing and Environmental Economics.

– Norwegian actors pay property tax in Norway, while foreign actors basically don't, he tells NRK.

Are Oust is a social economist.

Oust doesn't think it's a coincidence that most of the wealthy people leaving Norway are precisely property investors.

Photo: NTNU

– You can, for example, go to Switzerland, and then you will get rid of it. This can be a wise decision for private or commercial funds.

But he adds that it is not a good thing for people who “belong” to Norwegian cities to leave the country.

– It's about what we call “home bias”, meaning you invest more where you live. So over time it becomes harmful.

And in particular:

– We are losing tax revenue from these people and it works from day one.

Will not abolish wealth tax

Oust believes that the pattern of migration we have seen recently may be due to the Norwegian government setting tax levels too high.

– in the TV series The Sopranos It's said about the mafia business: “You shouldn't filter them too much, because we can't come back and filter them the next day”.

– The same can be said about taxation of the rich. If you touch too hard, they will move. We saw it in Sweden in the 70s and 80s. Many left and never came back.

Economic Report - Ministry of Finance

The finance minister told VG on Wednesday that “there is something un-Norwegian about the idea of ​​getting rid of the wealth tax.”

Photo: William Jobling / NRK

Hot political topic

Property tax in Norway has been the source of much debate in recent weeks.

There now seems to be an understanding that the property tax system in Norway needs to be changed, writes Christine Klemet, president of Civita. An Aftenposten opinion On Sunday.

He pointed to new signals from Ingrid Leland, one of the vice-presidents of the Green Party, who expressed her desire to raise more private capital for the green transition.

Voters in the Center Party and Labor Party have also said they are open to seeing tax reform. Anniken Hudfeld with others.

But Finance Minister Trygve Slacksvold Vedum (SP) shot down the speculation VG Thursday:

– I am not going to abolish wealth tax. It would shift the tax burden from the super rich to most people. “We will never participate in that,” he told the press.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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