'No decision' on property tax


Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the Government has not made a decision on the type of property tax to be introduced next year. 

Commentary suggesting a decision had been taken to introduce the tax based on house valuation rather than square footage was “premature”, Mr Varadkar said. He was speaking at the Tall Ships Festival in Dublin earlier today.

“No decision has yet been made on whether it will be valuation based or floor based or site valuation based. All those decisions have yet to be made by the Government,” he said.

“I think some of the commentary of the property tax is probably a little bit premature. All that has been agreed is that a property tax will be introduced next year and that the Revenue Commissioners will be responsible for collecting it.”

A senior Government source said this week that the “value-based” property tax to replace the household charge mentioned in the documents would be calculated on the basis of current market value instead of property size.

The Cabinet is expected to consider a detailed memo on the tax on September 4th. The Department of Finance also said no decision has yet been made on how to impose the payment.

“The report on the introduction of a progressive and fair property tax to replace the household charge is with the Minister for Environment,” said a spokesman for the department. 

“The recommendation will be considered by Government in due course.”

The Government’s latest submission to the International Monetary Fund and EU on Friday indicated a property tax would be based on house valuation rather than square footage when introduced in the budget.

The Department of Finance said there was no new information or details contained in the EU/IMF documents.

“The documents mirror the previous programme documents published in May,” it added.

“The only decision that has been taken by Government regarding the property tax is that it will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners.”

Minister for Communications and Energy Pat Rabbitte said the Cabinet was still waiting recommendations on the Thornhill report on property tax from Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

“The design of the property tax has not at all been settled by Government,” he said. 

“The idea is to broaden the tax base so we don’t have to continue to pile taxes on people at work and broaden the base of the tax system.”

“That decision is yet to be decided and yet to be discussed by Cabinet.” 

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty called on the government to abandon its plans for a property tax and seek negotiation with the Troika on the issue in the Memorandum of Understanding.

He said the best and most fair way forward is to introduce a wealth tax as it takes account of ability to pay.

Fianna Fáil raised concerns over a value tax and accused Mr Hogan of sitting on the Thornhill report despite promised it would be made public.

Additional reporting: PA