Some clause for concern as Enda digs in over tax
DÁIL SKETCH: “Somebody,” wailed Richard Boyd Barrett. “Somebody has to make a protest!” But who? They were talking among themselves in the Dáil chamber, paying him scant attention.
But who’ll do it, Richard? Nothing for it, but for RBB, ULA/PBP TD (Technical Group) to make that objection himself. Well. We weren’t expecting that.
You could have knocked us down with a placard. Fair play to Boyd Barrett. It’s about time he stood up and allowed his voice be heard. Particularly as it was all of half an hour since his last angry outburst.
Mind you, RBB made an interesting contribution during Leaders’ Questions. It certainly got a lot of people thinking in Leinster House – the Taoiseach not being one.
Yesterday, the Government geared up to steamroll the Property Tax Bill through the Oireachtas so as not to delay the nice people in Revenue who are all set to post out the bills next week. This move annoyed the Opposition no end, leading RBB to say that the Government had established a pattern of ramming through controversial legislation while allowing people to talk forever on non-contentious issues.
In advance of their latest guillotining exercise, the People Before Profit TD highlighted an intriguing clause in section one of the Bill, which sets out that when a house is valued for property tax, grounds stretching beyond an acre won’t be included in the calculation.
It was one of the “obnoxious features” of the Bill. Here’s the clause: “ ‘residential property’ means any building or structure which is in use as, or is suitable for use as, a dwelling and includes any shed, outhouse, garage or other building or structure and any yard, garden or other land, appurtenant to or usually enjoyed with that building, save that so much of any such yard, garden or other land that exceeds one acre shall not be taken into account for the purposes of this definition.”
So, as Boyd-Barrett sees it, people who are lucky and/or rich enough to live in a mansion set in rolling grounds with huge gardens and lovely views, won’t be taxed on the full value of their property. For example, if a person like a Government Minister were to own a listed house in the country surrounded by beautiful countryside, Revenue would only assess it based on a mere acre of the beautiful grounds.
Boyd Barrett had specific homes in mind when bringing up the single-acre clause. “This means the sprawling estates and large gardens, which would significantly boost the value of properties owned by multimillionaires . . .”