Monday 19 February 2018

Leo Varadkar indicates that he’s willing to freeze property taxes past 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Reuters
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Reuters

Shona Murray

The Taoiseach has indicated strongly that he’s willing to freeze property taxes past 2019 when they were due to be reviewed.

Currently, the rate of property tax paid by homeowners is based on 2013 valuations after former finance minister Michael Noonan initially froze the evaluation figures in the budget in 2015.

Given the ever-growing nature of house prices across the country homeowners would face a sharp hike in the amount of tax they’d be liable to pay.

In addition, local authorities have the power to alter property tax by either raising or lowering it by 15 per cent.  While some local councils are voting to lower it, there are fears that some may choose to increase it, heaping even more pressure on property owners.

“There has been a very significant increase in property values, particularly in the greater Dublin area, but not just in the Dublin area, but I certainly don't envisage, nor do I want to see, a sudden dramatic hike in property tax so we will be working hard to avoid that” Leo Varadkar told reporters after a meeting in London with Theresa May today.

Councils use the tax to pay for homelessness initiatives and other community investments but are also likely cognisant of the concerns of their constituents as a result of the ongoing housing crisis. The next local elections in Ireland are in 2019.

“My own local authority in Fingal has voted to alter it downwards, but only by 10 per cent instead of 15 per cent because they want funds to spend on housing and homelessness.

 “So those are the sorts of decisions being made, and councils have the power to make those decisions.”

 “But one thing that has not increased, which we don't want to see, and which I will do my ‘might and main to avoid’, is any sudden hike in property tax that would come about because of house revaluations”, said Varadkar.

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