Fine Gael TDs want taxes to stay in locality

Disgruntled Fine Gael TDs are set to put pressure on the Government to amend legislation on the property tax, as demands for the charge are sent to homeowners this week.

The move comes as the Government prepares to announce strict quotas agreed with the main Irish banks on the restructuring of distressed mortgages.

More than 1.6m households will begin receiving demands for the new property tax from today.

Revenue have outlined a series of radical methods of retrieving payments from property owners who fail to pay the levy, including from the self-employed and Opposition TDs opposing the levy.

A number of Fine Gael TDs want changes introduced so a higher proportion of the funds collected from the levy remain within localities.

The Government also faces demands from TDs that rates in areas can be changed from next year.

Dublin South East TD Eoghan Murphy said he is preparing legislation and policy changes on tax rules for the Dáil, which he intends to announce in the near future.

He wants up to 80% of funds raised in a locality to be used for services there, as opposed to the currently proposed rate of 65%.

He told the Irish Examiner there was widespread support in his party for this measure.

“A higher rate of retention would be easier for people to accept,” he said.

He and other party TDs also want local authorities to have the power to reduce rates of the tax from the beginning of next year as opposed to from 2016.

A number of Fine Gael TDs, including Olivia Mitchell, Peter Mathews and Mary Mitchell O’Connor have already said the new tax is anti-urban.

Meanwhile, the Government is expected to announce measures in the coming days to address the growing numbers of distressed mortgages.

A quarterly quota on restructuring loans has been agreed with banks. However, there is some concern this could see more families struggling with repayments kicked out of their homes. deputy Labour leader Joan Burton told one Sunday newspaper that a new wave of repossessions would “not be allowed to happen”.

But other ministers hinted yesterday that a rise in repossessions by the banks was on the cards.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, Ms Burton’s party colleague, said it was “inevitable” there would be an increase in properties seized back by lenders.


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