Property tax break for pyrite homeowners

Sat, Mar 2, 2013, 00:00

Householders whose homes are affected by pyrite will be exempt for three years from the property tax if the market value of the house is zero, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told the Dáil.

“My intention is to exempt any house that has incurred significant damage as a result of pyrite, to the degree that the property is valueless and that is the situation with many of them,” he said, finishing a debate on legislation to amend the Finance Local Property Tax Act.

The Bill sets out additional exemptions, deferrals and penalties for non-compliance with the tax, scheduled for July.

But a Government backbencher accused the Coalition of reneging on its commitment to exempt owners of pyrite-affected property and he was deeply disappointed and annoyed. “The bar has been set far too high,” said Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell.

Campaigned

The Dublin North TD, whose own home is affected by pyrite, said that about 12,500 homes were affected. And with a national average house value of €300,000, the Revenue Commissioners would lose €3.75 million if all such homes were exempted.

People who had painted over or covered up the pyrite damage were “being punished for being house proud”, he claimed.

Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews called for an emergency budget to “park the property tax” and instead introduce a 2.5 per cent levy on corporation profits, a betting tax and a levy on income over €120,000 for a three-year period.

However, the Minister referred to ESRI research, which showed a “property tax has the advantage of being six times more job friendly than taxes on work and income”.

The Bill allows for deferral until January 2014 for people in local authority housing. Liability on council housing will be set at the lowest valuation charge (worth €100,000).

‘Excessive hardship’

Properties used by charities will also be excluded where their property is used for recreational purposes and homes adapted for use by a disabled person could be exempt if the property was grant-aided by the local authority.

Homeowners in a debt settlement or insolvency arrangement could also qualify for a deferral for the duration of that agreement.

Deferral could also be allowed for someone dealing with the estate of a deceased person and for homeowners where the tax would result in “excessive hardship”.

Voting on second stage of the Bill is on Tuesday.