Noonan moves to defuse tax row before election
FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has moved to defuse a continuing row over local property tax rates ahead of the next general election.
Mr Noonan has commissioned a review into the local property tax and its relation to house values at a time when the property market is beginning to revive.
Fianna Fáil had challenged the Government to postpone next year's revaluation date for the tax after warning that homeowners would face higher bills if it went ahead.
Tax rates are currently calculated on property values in May 2013 and fixed for three years. Homeowners will be obliged to submit updated property values to Revenue in November 2016.
Fianna Fáil said people definitely faced big house tax increases, as house prices have risen since the original valuation in most cases.
The party has urged that 2013 values should still apply for an indefinite period - or until TDs and senators vote otherwise.
But last night the Department of Finance signalled that it would review the issue.
Dr Don Thornhill, a former public servant, has been tasked with conducting a review and considering whether any changes should be made.
Officials said this report was due to be completed this summer and the results would be considered in preparations for Budget 2016.
"The findings of the review will also be published in due course," a Finance Department official said.
Both government parties are under severe pressure on the issue - especially in the greater Dublin area and other major urban centres.
Fine Gael and Labour's worse than expected performance in local elections in May 2014 was in part attributed to concerns about the local property tax.
Fianna Fáil's Sean Fleming said the review was a delaying tactic to avoid the issue.