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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 27, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Household charge: the final countdown

    Mary Minihan

    The deadine of midnight on Saturday is looming. It’s no exaggeration to say the household charge issue has been the first test of the Government’s authority, and it’s been fascinating to see readers’ judgements of the Coalition in the huge response to this blog.

    It’s clear that many readers share the view expressed in The Irish Times editorial this morning: “Implementation of a household charge has been marred by confusion and incompetence”. Responses have ranged from the short but far from sweet - ”Not paying. Emigrated instead,” says Bryan – to the deeply philosophical. On a practical level, many apartment dwellers point out that they are already paying handsomely for management fees. Lots of readers are suspicious about where exactly the money will go. It is clear that many people are incredibly frustrated by the way the country has been run in the past and is being governed at present. Simple inability to pay €100 upfront comes up again and again, while lots of responses express a fear that the amount will escalate in the coming years.

    Some say they have paid grudgingly, giving an impression that they were bowing to the inevitable, while a few call on others to “grow up” and accept the need to put a property tax in place. Incidentally, some posters who paid online tell us that they had no problem filling out the form, indicating that particular issue was perhaps a bit of a red herring.

    “We have no other way of registering our protest,” one poster says. As our editorial looking forward to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis this weekend puts it: “The Taoiseach should be very afraid.”

    Please continue to let us know your attitude to the household charge.

    • Brendan says:

      I am currently living in Germany trying to earn enough to pay my mortgage on the house I purchased in Ireland in 2007. The house is currently unsaleable in the Irish market and has no value therefore, how do they intend to assess a valuation in the future for a property tax. We have no services, sewage, lighting, footpaths, bin collection, parks, or public amenities of any description. I have not received a bill for services rendered probably because I have had no services so why would I be stupid enough to pay this tax.
      Provide me with services on a property that has a value and bill me for these services and I will consider paying. Other wise push off and do something usefull for the Country like resigning.

    • Richard says:

      Why have the Government told RTE they are not allowed discuss the Household Charge after 14:00 today? Just heard this on Radio One.

    • David says:

      Absolutely scandalous, I purchased my house in 2005 and paid a cool 29,500€ in stamp! for what?

      I also pay 600€ per annum in mgmt fess on my estate as the local Co Co didnt assume irresponsibility for, and wouldn’t take over,

      As far as I’m concerned, the 29500€ I paid is my household charge covered for 29.5 years, im now 37 –
      In fact Im paying 29500€ plus interest over 35 years as its in my mortgage…………

    • Kate says:

      The comments from foreigners (or Irish living abroad for some years now) re the Irish ‘growing up’ about property tax are just to die for! They’re so obviously clueless about how many taxes and charges we pay in Ireland for the services which, in well-managed countries, are provided IN RETURN FOR the property tax. Methinks Franco and his sandbox playmates wouldn’t be too impressed to fork over €1200 tax annually and then have to part with €250/p.a. for bins, €600/p.a. universal social charge (which obviously doesn’t cover any social services at all, at all!), call-out charges of €500+ for emergency services: all things which are in fact also provided for from general income taxes. I object to the lazy, clumsy, unfair tax and I object even more to being bullied and harrassed by those elected to SERVE.

    • Tony McKeown says:

      Abolish the Seanad NOW. That would free up more money that any property tax.

      Tomorrow I and a million others will officially become law-breakers on a point of principle
      It was morally wrong for the previous government to nationalise the debt of private banks. It’s gotten us nothing but immigration, suicide and collective national depression. The household charge has everything to do with that and nothing to do with ‘local services’ . They are moving the money around into a big pile to send to europe and then inventing new taxes to fill the holes.

    • David says:

      The only solute’s here which the government hasn’t got the strength to do is plain and simple, cut local authority staff numbers, we all know they are extremely top heavy. I know a county council with the same number of permanent planners as there was in the celtic tiger days, what in gods name are they doing these days??

      This is not an isolated case.

    • Owen says:

      I am not confused, and wouldnt care if there were another hundred ways of paying this. Not paying this 100 for the banks this year, and wont be paying the 500 plus for them next year either

    • Carbo says:

      Paid €41,500 in stamp duty in 2006 which had to be borrowed as part of my mortgage. This has taken me 5 years 6 months to pay back (with payments of up to €1,900 a month). This month is the first time that my mortgage payment actually reduced my a few hundred euro the amount borrowed to actually buy my house rather than stamp duty. Have paid a lifetime of property taxes. Would like to reduce my negative equity and pay €100 off my mortgage borrowing rather than give the government any more.

    • popeye says:

      Wont be paying’ the banks own my house they got us into this mess so they can pay the 100, Hogan you can attach all you want to my house and argue it out with the bank.

    • Conor says:

      I would pay €300 if it was levied fairly, but the Household Charge is not. I will go to prison rather than pay it – this is about the principle, not the money. If it is repealed and a fair tax is put in its place then I will pay that, otherwise I will be off to Mountjoy when my time comes.

      I should also mention that my negative equity exceeds the value of my home… who was in opposition when Fianna Fail was driving this country to ruin, and why weren’t they saying anything?

      I urge all who can to take part in the protest tomorrow, the 31st, outside the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, to show them that this unfair charge will become their own “poll tax”, and in time will damage them as badly as the poll tax did the Tories in the UK.

    • N Bolas says:

      The problem is not with the 100euro but what is coming in the future. Will we be paying in the thousands next year?
      I laugh when I hear the government talk about us being the only country not paying a household tax and that we have the highest wages. For example our UK neighbours have free medical care, free education (really free-including books) and the cost of living is cheaper. Their household charges(rates) include water, bin, and other services. we are still expected to pay these as well as the household tax. I’ll pay the tax if it includes, water, bins etc the Government may be used to getting money for nothing in the past but they won’t be getting mine for nothing. They talk about seeing value for money-let us the people see value for our money.
      commented by N

    • Tony says:

      We all know and understand that this household charge is a precursor to a much more onerous tax which will be imposed upon us all in the future. The fact that this tax was enacted by a political class (of all parties) who have been demonstrated to be incompetent, stupid, profligate, wasteful and downright corrupt, upon a traumatised and wounded society, exhibits a staggering level of comtempt towards us all. If we are to believe the spin coming out of our government, then this money will be channelled towards the grasping hands of our local government representatives who will administer it wisely for our benefit. Any casual glance at the way local government operates in this country will tell you that it is an absolute disgrace and it is set up in a way that disproportionately benefits local powerful vested interests.

      If public consent (by which the government in a democracy governs) for a property tax is to be given then at the very least, we should demand far reaching and substantive changes to the system.

      The system is broken. Why throw good money in after bad to keep it going? Fix the system and then people will be more inclined to pay for it.

    • Kieran says:

      It will be interesting to see if the numbers of people registering exceeds the magic 800k before Saturday night – on the basis that 1.6m houses are registered this will (rightly) be proclaimed by the Govt as “the people have spoken”.

      Interesting to see what all those democratically elected legislators who are urging people to break the law will then say about the majority of the people abiding by the law of the land.

    • ronald says:

      not paying but i can if i want just dont think anyone should i earn 70,000 a year so easily afford it,but will not pay because of phil hogan he is so arrogrant, i think this government is a farce full of lies,in future i will just vote for indepents

    • Pat M says:

      Just reading some of this crap……I thought the crowd (moaners and waisters in the main) who ring Joe Duffy were bad…….they have nothing on ye lot…….will all ye “no” outfit just put up,shut up and pay up.

    • Seamo says:

      How dare the government ask people to pay for local services – particularly people who were forced at gun point to buy over priced houses.

      Somebody else should pay for our local services – preferably nasty foreigners who insist on loaning us money to fill the gap between what we spend and what we collect in taxes.

      Down with this sort of thing.

    • Barbara says:

      I paid approx E35000 in stamp duty 6yrs ago my house is now in negative equity. I would probably pay this charge if this was the only issue. However my road has flooded 3 time in as many years, several of the houses have been destroyed each time and at this stage they can’t be insured. On the night of the most recent flooding November 2011 I could not get through to the Emergency Services. Unitl the flooding issue has been resolved and the Emergency services can respond to emergency calls I will not be paying.

    • Clare says:

      People commenting on paying management fees, if they are not doing their jobs why do you still pay them, obviously in some cases up to 16 times more than the government is asking. You are not paying for the things just immediately outside your door, you are paying for many amenities available in your area.

      I own a house that I used to be able to afford, major problems now, €100 is probably less than I will pay next year – because of where I live and it being a 3 bedroom house – something fair does need to be worked out but hey that takes time and I prefer paying this then some real make up sliding scale. I also object to certain people not having to pay, tenents, council houses etc how are they any worse off than the rest of us. But lets face it think this is the least of our worries, didnt see anyone taking a big stand on the hiking of VAT, the fact that hospitality have not passed on their reduction, it all sucks but we have to get on with it.

      Ireland was all delighted and full of itself during the boom, looking down their noses at other nationalities, well I guess this is the fall that comes after the snide smug pride.

      You complain about the corruption of our politicians yet the same shower of crooked nasty gurriers were voted back in time and again.

      If it is so bad here try and find a country to go and live in that is any better, and enjoy life there

    • Peter says:

      I would like to know what will happen when less than half the people pay.
      Will those that have payed get a refund at the end of the year if the rest of the population don’t pay?
      Will all the people that don’t pay really be fined and how much will it cost to bring these people to court?
      Who will pay the court costs, will this cost be put on next years proerty tax, or will there be an increase in other tax’s in order to cover these court costs, which will mean even the people who pay this year will be punnished again?
      If the whole process is scrapped for this year will the people that have payed get a refund, or get a reduction in next years tax?
      Where is the logic in introducing a tax on people who own houses who are already struggling to pay there current mortgages?

    • Oliver Connors says:

      DON’T PAY IT – it’s only €2.40 / week if you miss the deadline… The government cannot afford to track down the owners of a house without incurring massive losses (it’s a time consuming process).

      And if that wasn’t enough, the civil service are already over-stretched and massively understaffed.

      FG-LAB will reverse this stealth tax eventually.

      It’s Not our debt – it is the debt of foreign speculators who FG can easily burn.

    • Scarecrows of the Stipe says:

      @ 315

      Pat : You are a Fool ,plain and simple………

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