Editorial: Keeping property tax funds local will ease pain
Published 31/03/2014 | 02:30
Another threatening property tax deadline looms and yet again the public response is to rush at the 11th hour and pay up. The Revenue Commissioners had an impressive in rush of funds in recent days. Two thousand householders have stumped up a massive €4m in the past few days and by another yardstick one 48-hour period brought in €6m.
Nine out of 10 of us are paying up – if not looking entirely happy. The Revenue believe the compliance rate for 2013 property tax is 93pc, while they estimate compliance for 2014 around 88pc.
These are impressive results with which it is very hard to quarrel. Nobody likes new taxes, and this one has come with other charges at a time when most people are feeling the pinch.
The people of middle Ireland have gritted their teeth and paid. The unloved Revenue Commissioners are entitled to some respect.
It is a help in accepting taxation to know that everyone is being treated equally. We do not have to go back too far to find tolerance for dodgers and non-payers who were later facilitated with amnesties and deals to clear up their affairs.
But while the Revenue appears to be doing their work, there are other questions about the local property tax – especially about just how 'local' it really is. Promises that 80pc of it would go to local councils were put on hold last year as the money went to Irish Water, the source of other upcoming charges.
We trust that this 80pc promise will be fulfilled this year and in future years. Many of us will note that this new tax also comes at a time when councils are withdrawing from local services. Councils no longer do bin collections and their offices have ceased to be the point of delivery for car tax and driving licences.
We trust that this trend does not continue and that this local tax can be seen to enhance local services for local communities.