Friday 30 September 2016

Unfair to punish public for property tax fiasco

Published 19/10/2015 | 02:30

Given our dysfunctional property market, the current application of the tax seems anything but equitable
Given our dysfunctional property market, the current application of the tax seems anything but equitable

Like picadors in the bull-ring, sometimes it appears as if the role of the Government is to tantalise and torment the public. The full cost of the freeze on a revaluation of homes for the purposes of applying the Local Property Tax, is becoming frustratingly apparent.

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From the point of view of politicians pinning their hopes on a return to power driven by a giveaway Budget, the revisiting of a tax that would negate its benefits, would never have been expedient.

As things stood, owners faced enormous hikes in their bills when they were due to be assessed in 2016. The tax was first assessed in May 2013, but since then prices have soared, especially in cities.

Yet given our dysfunctional property market, the current application of the tax seems anything but equitable.

If you are fortunate enough to own a home worth millions you are likely to escape a massive increase in tax.

But if you are unfortunate enough to be drowning in negative equity, and dutifully paying your mortgage, you will still be expected to cough up.

Not much proportionate or equitable about that. Clearly, the tax as it is currently applied is anything but fair. It was hastily conceived, and works on the basis that as the value of your home goes up, so does your tax liability.

Taxpayers are being asked to subsidise government inability to sort out supply-and-demand issues within the property market.

This is yet another example of how the fallout from not tackling the housing crisis is having an egregious impact.

The freeze, coupled with exemptions, will deprive local authorities of millions that could be used in addressing the critical building deficit.

We are also seeing how taxpayers are left to foot a hefty bill for waivers given to developers.

In the short-term governments may be rewarded for their skills in kicking cans further down the road, but sooner or later they ricochet, and someone gets hurt.

No shame in losing to a superb Argentina

The roof was closed and the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff was a sea of green, with a few islands of blue. Islands have always withstood the waves, and thus it was the Argentinians that were still singing after the tides of passion had ebbed from Irish hearts.

Ireland became the first home country to lose to Argentina in 1952; they dumped us out of World Cups in 1999 and 2007 and we became three-time losers yesterday.

Given that Ireland was shorn of giants like O'Connell, O'Mahony and Sexton, we were always going to struggle.

Jamie Heaslip and Ian Madigan gave it their all, but few imagined the gulf in class between Joe Schmidt's competent crew and the Pumas, whose panache and pace were so great.

While the northern-hemisphere teams seem committed to big collisions and intense physicality, those below the equator run and pass with a speed and skill-set we have yet to match. Schmidt has done an exceptional job. Ireland played with pride and spirit but on the day Argentina snuffed out the intensity with flair and finesse and ended up worthy winners.

Given the toll of injuries and the number of walking wounded, there could be some valuable lessons from Rugby World Cup 2015. The chief one would be that while rugby will always be a contact sport, big hits might be better side-stepped and quick hands and dancing feet may prove the best way forward for the future of the game.

Irish Independent

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