Up to 80,000 homes will not pay local property tax until 2021, because of a decision to delay a review of the tax, the Irish Examiner can reveal. Homes built since 2013, when the LPT was introduced, were not subject to the tax and, given the decision to delay the review again, such homes will remain exempt.
Homeowners in such new properties will be between €2,100 and €3,500 better off than those in pre-2013 homes, who had to pay the tax.
New builds and also homes (ghost estates) bought directly from builders, and which had not been occupied, were exempted from LPT, on its introduction.
In 2016, former finance minister Michael Noonan delayed the review of the tax until 2019 and, earlier this week, his successor, Paschal Donohoe, delayed it until 2021. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused the Government of delaying the review of the local property tax for electoral reasons. Yesterday, Mr Martin said the decision by Mr Donohoe to delay the review didn’t surprise him.
It is clear they did not want to do anything before the local and European elections and, possibly, a general election
“There was an electoral context to that decision.”
He also highlighted the anomalies relating to newer homes and the growing tax inequality.
“Many anomalies have arisen. There are many issues in Dublin,” he said, referring to people who may be in larger homes, but who are cash-poor and would not be able to meet significant increases in their LPT bills. He said homeowners in Dublin do pay higher than most and the Government has to be cognisant of that.
The Government took the decision to defer the review despite a report recommending that the review be implemented from November.
Ministers speaking to the Irish Examiner made clear that, politically, it was impossible to move ahead, given the instability of the Government and the looming local and European elections. “In addition to those, we all know there is a high chance of a general election this year, so it was a case of ‘no way, Jose’,” one minister said. Local councillors, meanwhile, will lose the power to reduce the LPT, under recommendations in Mr Donohoe’s report.