Cabinet expected to defer property tax changes until next year

Cabinet expected to defer property tax changes until next year
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath

Fianna Fáil has accused the government of kicking the can down the road with an expected Cabinet decision later today to defer property tax changes for another year.

Following concerns from Ministers and Dublin TDs over possibly massive hikes in the local property tax, the Fine Gael-led government has decided to postpone any reforms of the levy until next year.

Rates had been frozen since 2013 and a further decision was taken in 2016 to keep them at the same levels until November this year. Cabinet later this evening is expected to further postpone any decision until next year.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath criticised the decision claiming the move had been made for electoral purposes to safeguard the government in the upcoming local an European elections in May.

"It is a classic example of the government running scared, kicking the can down the road, governing in line with the electoral cycle rather than doing what is actually required. The local property tax needs to be reformed. The valuation date that continues to apply is from May of 2013.”

Fianna Fáil had proposed changing the rate for each local authority separately.

“In that scenario households would not be facing significant increases in their bills that otherwise they would,” added Mr McGrath.

It is understood that Cabinet today is considering a report which says that a fifth of people could see increases in the property tax. Instead, alternatives will be discussed by ministers at their weekly meeting, including the option potentially of delaying any rate rises until some stage next year, which could also be after a general election.

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