WHEN it comes to working out how much we should pay in property tax there is no end to the Revenue’s snooping capabilities.
It has been revealed that the tax authorities will be able to use “sophisticated aerial mapping” to work out a house’s value.
This will show how close we are to shops, transport links and schools.
According to reports, a “deprivation index” will show how poor an area is.
By the same token, there should be a “prosperity index”, showing off some of the tell-tale signs of affluence.
There is no use in pretending you are a pauper living in a tumbledown shack when the Revenue probably knows that your bijou residence has a high score on the Jacuzzi index.
This could measure the number of exterior hot tubs per hectare in any area.
With its GPS aerial mapping devices, the Revenue should be able to pick up other signs of prosperity: mega-trampolines the size of helipads will cause red lights to flash; swimming pools stand out a mile; and, of course, there is no hiding the multiple-vehicle garage with remote control triple doors.
Using other gizmos, including Google Street View, the taxman should be able to gather images of twitching Versace curtains, and adjust the property tax to take account of this.
And the new water meter to be installed in Irish homes could act as a “power shower detector”, and any signs of a great gush in a bathroom should also have an additional levy.
Using its aerial mapping, the Revenue’s dedicated snoopers will know how far each house is from a delicatesssen selling parma ham, tubs of mozzarella cheese and wild Irish salmon pate.
They could also use a Bono-meter. This measures the distance that you live from the U2 singer
The closer you are, the higher the tax.
Hi-tech gadgetry will be useful when it comes to piling on the property tax in affluent areas.
However, any espionage agency will tell you that you also need eyes and ears on the ground.
The government could use a readymade local intelligence network that is already a source of information about what goes behind the four walls of the average Irish household.
This network consists of the concerned citizens who mutter over a garden fence: “Did you see they put in a new extension last week, and I don’t think they got planning permission? They are only after getting an attic conversion… and the daughter is pregnant…”
This well-established local network of snoopers and busybodies could be employed as a Property Tax Stasi for a relatively low fee.
With these measures in place there would be no escape from the property tax and revenue would come pouring in.