Govt must 'clarify position on stamp duty'

Estate agents, Sherry FitzGerald, have welcomed elements of today’s report by the Commission on Taxation but have called for immediate clarification from the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan on the issue of stamp duty.

Marian Finnegan, Chief Economist at Sherry FitzGerald Group said: "The Commission's proposal to eliminate stamp duty and introduce a property tax is more equitable for the economy at large.

"The penalising rate of stamp duty applicable in the second-hand market has for too long acted as a barrier to entry to the property market and was in effect a tax on mobility.

"That said, without an immediate Government decision on this matter there is a clear danger that all market activity will cease until Budget 2010."

"From an economic point of view a property tax is more equitable.

"It provides the Government with a recurring income, which is particularly valuable in times of market turbulence.

"The banding system proposed would make the introduction of such a tax less arduous.

"Furthermore the possibility that the annual property tax would become an important component of future financing of local government would benefit the development of local communities."

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