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Be prepared for a double whammy of property and water levies

PROPERTY tax isn't going away -- and it might be introduced at the same time as water charges.

Homeowners who thought they would be spared the controversial taxes for the foreseeable future have been told that they are still firmly on the Government's Budget agenda.

As the Cabinet prepared to meet for its final session before the summer break, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern reignited the debate over domestic taxes.

It had been believed that property tax would be shelved, despite the Government's need to make a €3bn adjustment in December's budget.

But yesterday, Mr Ahern said: "That may include a property tax and charging for water - which are in every other European country."


He also warned that low paid workers could be dragged back into the tax net.

"There's a relatively small percentage of people who are paying tax. But 50pc of people are not paying a bob of tax. That is not sustainable," he said.

The property tax could cause significant problems for Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, as it is already the subject of backbencher disquiet.

Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews had tabled a motion against its introduction for a recent Parliamentary Party meeting.

However, the debate never took place as ministers indicated that the tax was being put on the long finger.