Tuesday 17 October 2017

Kenny reveals property tax will cost families an average of €300 per year

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

FAMILIES are facing the prospect of a property tax which will cost them around €300 each on average.

It came as Taoiseach Enda Kenny revealed yesterday that the Government was aiming to bring in €500m in annual revenue from a property tax.

This would result in an average tax of €312.50 for each of the 1.6 million households currently bracing themselves for the €100 flat rate household charge in the New Year.

But the property tax will vary for households, depending on the value of their property, their income, regional differences between property values and whether they paid first-time buyers' stamp duty during the property boom.

Mr Kenny declared yesterday that the new property tax would be fairer than the flat rate household charge.

"The expert group will report to Government on the structure of the proposed property charge. We want this to be affordable," he said.

The tax could be introduced as early as 2013 -- but that depends on the verdict of the expert group due to report to the Government at the end of March.

It is likely that the 400,000 households currently due to get exemptions from the household charge will also be exempted from the property tax.

They include those renting houses from local authorities or private landlords and those living in 1,300 ghost estates.

And the 18,000 people who are getting Mortgage Interest Supplement from the state to help them pay their mortgages will not be liable.

But the Government is facing a battle to collect the household charge.

The Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, which includes a number of TDs and groups representing homeowners, yesterday called on people not to register for the household charge in January and February.

United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins said this move would increase the pressure on the Government ahead of the March 31 deadline for paying the household charge.

"We'd be urging people to hold off from registering or paying and then in March, it becomes a political problem," she said.

Ms Collins said she believed the household charge would become unenforceable and uncollectable due to a mass boycott.

"We've always known that the €2-a-week household charge was a prelude to property taxes and water taxes," she said.

But the prospect of large numbers of people going to jail may be avoided due to the 2010 Fines Act. It allows people who fail to pay court fines to have the payment deducted from their wages or social welfare payments, instead of receiving a jail sentence.

Irish Independent

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