On foot of Phil Hogan’s orders, Revenue are supposed to send everyone ‘a guide’ in 2013 telling them what they think the house is worth (and the owner, pay) backed up by threats of invading your home, privacy and bank account if you beg to differ.
Most properties are worth nothing at present if you tried to actually sell them. Will homeowners have to pay for a valuation if they disagree with Revenue and who will have the final word?
What happens if the market recovers and prices begin to creep back up? Or you install central heating or make your house energy efficient? Now that your house is worth more, you will have to pay more tax. Can we really be back to the days when you had to pay more rent to absentee landlords if you made any improvement to your hovel? How does the Government hope to stimulate a stagnant property market with this inane tax?
Then there are the lies. In their manifesto Fine Gael wrote they didn’t believe property tax was a good thing and that in 2014 they’d give councils the option of finding other sources of funding.
Now it looks like the tax is here to stay and that the only option councils will have is to move the tax up or down 15%. Who honestly thinks they will move it down? Nor is it really a ‘property tax’ — no farmland, boats, or mp3 players are covered, it’s just a tax on having a home to live in. Nor does it fulfil the Government’s claim ‘not to tax work’. In fact, Fine Gael have taxed work — more USC and higher rates of PRSI.
The property tax will have to be paid out of whatever income is left, meaning less money going into supporting the local economy, more people unemployed and so on ad nauseam. Nor does anyone really believe that this is not just another bailout tax in reality.
It is a basic human right to provide for ourselves through our own labour, a place in which to live and raise our family. Apart from the money we borrow privately to do this, no further tax or charge should be levied on our primary dwelling. Unlike rental property, it does not generate income, and frequently costs a lot of money to maintain.
We need constitutional change on this, and with a constitutional review underway, never has there been a better time. The Government should scrap this tax immediately and, if they won’t, we need to sweep them out of office at the next local elections as a prelude to running them out of office at the next general election, and do it ourselves.
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