Fianna Fail accuses Government of ‘playing games’ over property tax

Fianna Fail accuses Government of ‘playing games’ over property tax

Update 1.43pm: Fianna Fail has accused the Government of “playing games” over property tax, which is to be reviewed for the first time this year.

Local property tax (LPT) is based on the market value of a house, but the rapid increase in prices has prompted concerns about the hikes in tax homeowners will have to pay.

In 2015, the LPT being paid by homeowners was frozen until 2019.

A review of the system is under way and the Government says it is due to report in the first quarter of this year.

Fianna Fail housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien called on the Government to be upfront about possible increases.

He said: “This review should have been published already. Fine Gael have been playing games with this, people are unsure where they stand – both local authorities and homeowners, I get a sense that they (Fine Gael) are trying to time this in advance of a local and European election to say, ‘Aren’t we great? We’re not increasing the property tax’.

“People see through these games. It’s more of the spin and substance piece. Publish the report, let the Dail debate it, and lets move on and get certainty around the LPT.”

Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath said: “We have the spectre at the moment of Government ministers publicly calling for changes that they themselves are responsible for bringing about. We’re seeing Shane Ross saying one thing, Joespha Madigan saying another thing.

“The Government need to be coherent on this issue and agree on a collective position, we’re just seeing games at the minute.”

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe made efforts on Monday to reassure the public that any changes to the LPT will be “affordable and predictable”.

He added that no one will have to pay this year, with the first bill due early next year.

“The intention is not to increase the yield from the local property tax, so we will have to make changes in the band and in the rate as well so people see no increase, or perhaps a modest increase or decrease in 2020,” he said.

- Press Association

Earlier: Minister: Increases to local property tax will be 'moderate and affordable'

Update 7.36am: Increases to the local property tax will be moderate and affordable, according to the Finance Minister.

The Government still has not decided how much the tax will increase by.

The matter is being reviewed - with Culture Minister Josepha Madigan calling for more affluent areas to pay less tax.

Another Dublin-based Minister has said local councils should continue to decide how much people pay in any area.

Fianna Fail accuses Government of ‘playing games’ over property tax

At the moment the charge is due to increase when there is a property price review in 2020.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says decisions will be made later in the year.

He said: "Any changes will be ones that will be affordable and predictable.

"These are bills that are due to come in one years time and I understand exactly the anxiety that people will have about these bills if they were to become clear towards the end of this year and were due to be paid early next year.

"That is why I work to bring proposals to Government to bring that kind of clarity to it."

Minister Donohoe says at the moment, he is examining the options available.

"I am well aware of the very significant effect that higher house values could have on future local property tax liability.

"I also know and it's obvious that while people's incomes have grown they clearly have not grown in line with the growth in house prices.

"Any change if that happens on the local property tax will be moderate, understandable and affordable."

Digital Desk

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