Saturday 3 December 2016

Council hikes to local property tax push up bills for 400,000 families

Published 03/10/2015 | 02:30

The property tax increase will affect 400,000 families living in Limerick City and Counties
Mayo, Westmeath, and Cork
The property tax increase will affect 400,000 families living in Limerick City and Counties Mayo, Westmeath, and Cork

One in five homeowners will be hit with an increase in their property tax bill from January.

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Almost 400,000 families living in Limerick City and Counties Mayo, Westmeath, and Cork County will pay increases ranging from 3pc to 5pc, but those in Wicklow will be hardest hit.

This is because members of the local authority have decided to row back on a 15pc reduction which applied for 2015.

Council members have instead voted to apply the full rate, meaning that homeowners will be forced to pay more.

The Local Property Tax (LPT) is based on a payment of 0.18pc of the value of a property up to €1m and 0.25pc on any balance over that amount.

However, local authorities are allowed to adjust these basic rates in their area by a maximum of 15pc, upwards or downwards.

This measure, called the local adjustment factor, must be decided no later than September 30 the year before the tax is due.

It must be agreed every year, meaning that a reduction or increase does not automatically follow through to the following year, but must be decided through a vote.

Figures from the Department of the Environment show that overall, people living in 11 local authority areas will benefit from a reduction.

The data shows:

- Increases are being applied in five counties.

- In Limerick City and County, the rate was reduced by 3pc for 2015 but the full rate applies for 2016. Some 76,300 households are affected.

- Councillors in Mayo and Westmeath have also applied the full rate for 2016, after reducing it by 3pc for this year. Some 57,800 families will be affected in Mayo and 34,500 in Westmeath.

- In Cork County, a reduction of 10pc applied for 2015. This has been reduced to a cut of 5pc and will affect 163,300 families.

- In Wicklow, the full rate applies for 52,000 households. It was 15pc below the standard rate last year.

- The rate will fall in just one local authority, Monaghan. The full rate applied for 2015, but will drop by 7.5pc for 2016, a move which will benefit 22,400 households but will result in a financial loss to the council of €280,000.

- The rate is unchanged in nine local authority areas and remains below the full chargeable amount. Families in Clare and the four Dublin local authorities - Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Dublin City, Fingal and South Dublin - will benefit from the maximum 15pc cut for next year.

- Various reductions have been maintained in the other four - Longford (-3pc), Louth (-1.5pc), Cork City (-10pc) and Kildare (-7.5pc).

- The full rate is now being applied in 20 counties.

The latest figures show that 1.853 million households are paying the LPT, with a compliance rate of 98pc.

In 2014, the first full year of the tax, some €522m was collected.

Some 80pc of the tax collected in each county is held locally and the remaining 20pc is redistributed to other local authorities, which have lower property tax bases, and to help fund local services.

While councillors are entitled to change the rates, doing so does result in a financial loss to the local authority.

Rate adjustments by local authorities

Staying at the full rate

The full rate applies in the following counties: Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Galway County, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford City and County, Wexford, Kerry, Galway City and Meath.

Staying at a lower rate

Lower rates applied for 2015 remain unchanged in Longford (-3pc); Louth (-1.5pc), Cork City (-10pc), Kildare (-7.5pc) and Clare, Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin (all -15pc).

Increases

- Limerick City and County - increased to full rate following 3pc reduction in 2015. Some 76,300 affected.

- Mayo - increased to full rate following 3pc reduction in 2015. 57,800 householders affected.

- Westmeath - increased to full rate following a 3pc reduction for 2015. 34,500 affected.

- Cork County - reduction of 10pc applied for 2015, but at 5pc for 2016. Affects 163,300.

- Wicklow - now at full rate, but was 15pc lower for 2015. Affects 52,000.

Reductions

- Monaghan - reduced from full rate for 2015, to minus 7.5pc for 2016. Benefits 22,400 households. Results in €280,000 loss to the council.

Irish Independent

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