Increase in local property tax sought by Labour, Greens and Social Democrat councillors

‘Unholy alliance’ of FF, FG, SF and PBP want lowest rate possible, while GP, SD and Labour seek increase

25/03/2013 News / Archive The  Local Property Tax forms sent out by Revenue  . Photograph: Bryan O'Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

Keywords : tax lpt revenue finance home house ownership liability  lpt declaration form signature tax customs payment recession euro business finance penalty fine market value residential landlord estate local authority lease property paperwork papers
Councillors from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and People Before Profit are set to vote for the lowest rate of local property tax (LPT) for 2024

Councillors from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and People Before Profit are set to vote for the lowest rate of local property tax (LPT) for 2024 when the issue comes before the Dublin City Council on Monday evening.

However councillors for the Labour Party, the Green Party, and the Social Democrats, have put down a motion that would result in a higher rate for next year.

“The resulting funds of €14.5 million should be applied €12 million to works to improve public streets and €2.5 million to the Area Discretionary Fund,” according to their motion.

The Local Property Tax, which is based on the value of the property, has a base rate that can be varied by plus or minus fifteen per cent by each local authority. Dublin City Council usually votes to reduce it by the maximum amount possible.


In its report to Monday’s meeting, the executive asked the councillors to vote for the base rate.

“This report recommends that in the context of the acknowledged need to invest in services to improve our streets and neighbourhoods across the city that the elected members move from applying a 15 per cent reduction in the LPT basic rate to applying the national basic rate thereby providing an estimated €14.54 million in additional funds,” it says.

The motion from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and People Before Profit would see the council once again to vote for the lowest possible rate, ie minus fifteen per cent.

“This year, with the cost of living increases, the cost of heating homes adding to the burden of families, [increasing the rate] isn’t the thing to do,” said Fianna Fáil councillor Tom Brabazon.

He said the “wishful thinkers” who are proposing that the base rate should be applied were trying to get “blood out of stones”.

Hazel De Nortúin of PBP said she and her PBP colleague would be supporting the retention of the lowest rate but that it was frustrating to see the motions from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who were in Government.

“If we had proper funding from central Government we wouldn’t be using the property tax to prop us up,” she said. “We have always said it is not a progressive tax, it is a flat tax rate.”

Michael Pidgeon of the Green Party said they have decided to follow the suggestion of city management and not reduce the tax from the base rate. He said it was frustrating that the lower rate was always being supported by “a weird unholy alliance of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and People Before Profit.”

The extra money that would be raised would be used for extra street cleaning and other improvements to the public domain. He said it was not true, as asserted by some councillors, that additional money raised by council votes on the property tax rate simply resulted in less money being received from central Government.

The Local Property Tax calculator on the Revenue Commissioners website shows that a house valued between €262,501 and €350,000 would incur a tax charge for 2023 of €315 if the base rate was applied. The same house would incur an annual tax of €267, or €48 less, if the local authority reduced the base rate by 15 per cent.

For a house that falls within the €437,501 to €525,000 value range, the base rate would see an annual tax of €495, which would be reduced by €75, to €420, if a council voted to reduce it by fifteen per cent.

Fine Gael councillor with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Barry Saul, said it would be voting on the property tax rate for 2024 on October 9th next. Management was looking for minus ten per cent but his party would be recommending minus fifteen per cent and he thought this would be carried.

The local Government tax was a “Cinderella tax,” he said. “It was set up to be a local tax for local services but it hasn’t really done that. It has just been offset by reductions in central Government funding.”

Fingal County Council voted last year to reduce the base rate by 7.5 per cent, up from the minus 10 per cent of previous years, and to do so for two years, ie 2023 and 2024.

The increased revenue has been useful for organising such activities as summer festivals that have been beneficial for the community, said John-Kingsley Onwumereh of Fianna Fáil. “It’s been a good thing.”

However Natalie Treacy of Sinn Féin was critical of the council’s vote last year and said her party would like to see “the lowest tax, the highest return for the people, not for the Government.”

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent