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Video: Campaigners threaten to step up boycotts as property tax rate revealed

CAMPAIGNERS have warned of deepening boycotts against tax on family homes as Budget 2013 heralded the much-anticipated new 0.18pc property tax rate.

Despite assurances that it will not rise over the next three years, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the level of opposition will soar.

"Fifty percent of homeowners continue to boycott household tax, that will be intensified as this new burden comes in. There will be massive resistance," he said.

The scheme will cost average homeowners between €250-300 a year with a higher mansion tax rate of 0.25pc for homes worth €1m-plus.

Gregor Kerr, spokesman for the Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes (CAHWT), said the tax was a declaration of war on people.

"Campaign members across the country will respond to this provocation by re-doubling and intensifying both the boycott of the property tax and protests against it and against the austerity agenda," he said.

Latest figures from the Local Government Management Agency put half a million homeowners in the boycott bracket.

Some 1.1 million homes have been registered to pay the Household Charge as it stands, bringing in €111m.

The CAHWT declared the mansion tax a diversionary tactic and unacceptable.

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"A real wealth tax would have imposed a levy on the massive wealth owned by the richest 36,000 people who between them own approximately €130 billion," Mr Kerr said.

Sean Moynihan, chief executive of the Alone charity working with older people, said: "As we know, some older people may be asset rich but are cash poor and struggle to meet their basic needs."

Under the property tax regime:

- First time buyers, new or unoccupied homes would be exempt up to the end of 2016.

- The tax will be by self-assessment under guidance by collectors, the Revenue Commissioners.

- Payment can be by direct debit, credit or debit cards, cash payments or "deduction at source" from salary or pensions.

- Voluntary deferral will be allowed for those in financial difficulty.

- From 2015, local authorities will have the power to vary the rates by 15pc above or below the central national rates.

Tom Parlon, Construction Industry Federation (CIF) director general, said the reforms would not revive the industry overall.

"If the Government wants to see positive movement in the residential market then they need to address more of the underlying issues," he said.

"They need to ensure the banks are providing mortgages to people who are applying and can afford a mortgage payment. They need to help breed confidence in the market so that we can see a more steady position in residential property prices.

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