Opposition makes last ditch attempt to scrap property tax

Opposition makes last ditch attempt to scrap property tax

Opposition parties have made a last-ditch attempt to persuade the Government to scrap the dreaded property tax.

As TDs debated a new Bill to introduce the tax, around 100 Sinn Fein supporters gathered at the Dail to protest against the extra burden which will come into force in July.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin also accused the Government of trying to rush through the Bill to prevent a proper debate on the issue, saying he had written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny pleading for more time.

“Forcing through legislation on a family home tax without a proper debate is unfair, undemocratic and will only fuel the public’s sense of frustration and disconnect,” Mr Martin said.

“It displays contempt for the mandate held by deputies on all sides of the House and shows how arrogant and out of touch this Government has become in a very short period of time.”

Introducing the legislation to impose the tax, Finance Minister Michael Noonan revealed that homes with a certain level of pyrite damage will be exempt.

Other waivers will apply to homeowners earning less than €15,000 and those living in ghost estates.

Details of the tax were unveiled as part of Budget 2013, which comprised €3.5bn of tax hikes and spending cuts.

The rate was set at 0.18% of the property value, rising to 0.25% for homes worth more than €1m.

This will see the owner of a home worth the national average price of €157,400 paying nearly €300 every year.

Mr Noonan has insisted those who are eligible will have an option to defer their payments – until the sale of the property in question.

But Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and members of the United Left Alliance have warned that struggling homeowners have been squeezed enough.

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty pointed out that a quarter of homeowners are already struggling to make ends meet.

“Despite the fact that one in four mortgage holders are in mortgage distress and hundreds of thousands of families are struggling to get by, the Government is pressing ahead with this odious tax,” Mr Doherty said.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister warned that those who fail to pay the tax will be unable to get a tax clearance certificate.

The annual sum will be collected by the Revenue Commissioners.


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