Kerry pays €15m in property tax

Varadkar's plans for property tax could lead to Kerry windfall

Simon Brouder

Kerry County Council could be in for a tax windfall worth up to €3million a year if Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presses ahead with his plans to revise the property tax system.

Last month Mr Varadkar flew a political kite suggesting that extensive changes are needed to how property tax revenues are spread around the country.

At present all property tax is pooled nationally and used to pay for services in all local authority areas.

Typically the system - which is designed to ensure areas less well off benefit equally from the tax - sees local authorities receive funding worth about 80 per cent of the local property tax take.

Under his new proposal, Mr Varadkar is seeking to ring- fence property tax for the specific areas it comes from, meaning any cash raised from the owners of properties in Kerry would be used to fund services in the county.

Based on the property tax statistics for 2018, which were published by Revenue this week, the proposal could have positive implications for Kerry which, thanks largely to the significant number of holiday properties in the county, would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of any such change.

According to the Revenue figures, €15.1 million in property taxes were collected from the owners of 69,100 Kerry properties in 2018.

Based on that, and under current rules, Kerry County Council could expect to receive about €12million in funds from the state.

Were the Taoiseach's proposals to come into force - and they are likely to meet stern opposition - Kerry County Council's coffers could be up to €3million better off.