Ghost estate residents exempt from €100 household tax
Homeowners in certain ghost estates and those on mortgage interest supplement will be exempt from the €100 per annum household tax being introduced next year.
But there will be a sting in the tail for cash strapped taxpayers who refuse to pay the tax.
The charge will be introduced in January next year, with householders given three months to pay it.
However, those who do not stump up will be hit with fines of €10 a month.
Cabinet signed off on the €100 tax at its last meeting before the summer break.
Others who will be exempt include those in social housing as well as charity-run and sheltered homes and owners of commercial properties.
It is expected 1.6 million homes will have to pay the tax with around a 250,000 households exempted – the Government believes it will raise €160m annually.
Announcing the tax, Environment Minister Phil Hogan said the charge will be used to fund local services around the country.
He also pointed out that Ireland is one of the last western countries to fund local services through such a tax.
“I understand that the introduction of the charge, even though modest at less than the equivalent of €2 a week, represents an additional cost for all homeowners so I intend to facilitate households in paying it over a number of instalments,” Minister Hogan said today.
“I have also sought to protect the most vulnerable in society by excluding those on mortgage interest supplement.
“Those in certain unfinished housing estates will also have the charge waived.”
The flat levy is an interim measure until meters are installed ahead of a water tax.
A property tax will also be introduced as part of the EU/IMF bailout deal.
Meanwhile, economist Colm McCarthy has said the government should consider even harsher cutbacks in order to reduce the country's borrowing.
He also questioned whether Ireland will be in a position to borrow money on the international markets in early 2013, despite an easing on the repayment of our €67.5bn bailout loans as part of the latest Greek deal.
Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, the UCD economist said that, despite numerous cost-cutting budgets, Ireland still has not reduced its deficit.
"We're in a situation this year where our borrowing is nearly as big as it was three years ago.
"The Government needs to think carefully about whether it can take a relaxed approach and stick with the [EU/IMF bailout] programme or whether it should be trying to accelerate the fiscal adjustment in the hope of getting out of this debt crisis sooner," he added.
He also said that Ireland's planned return to the international bonds markets in early 2013 is "wildly unlikely".
Meanwhile, Mr Hogan also confirmed the presidential election will be held on October 27.
Three referenda will also be put to the people on the same day.
The electorate will vote on whether additional powers should be given to Oireachtas Committees investigating matters of public interest.
The move follows the Abbeylara judgment where the Supreme Court found that the Oireachtas does not have an inherent power to conduct inquiries after it set up an inquiry into the shooting of John Carthy in the Co Longford town in 2000.
It will also vote on judge’s pay.
The third referendum is not yet known.