Commission on Taxation proposals

 

Madam, – I read with dismay (Front page, September 8th) that the coalition will now probably not follow through on proposals from the Taxation Commission to introduce a property tax. Even in these straitened economic times, a property remains an asset worth a considerable sum. It is logical that the State would tax the values of these assets, similar to the approach of many of our neighbouring states.

I also noticed Gavin Mulcahy (Letters page) bemoaning the fact that the State was allowing recent landlords to write off only 75 per cent of the cost of their interest against tax. Why should the State allow any write-off of interest against tax?

It is little wonder that we are in the midst of an economic disaster fuelled by property speculation when ordinary citizens do not believe they should pay any tax on the considerable values of their property and landlords think they are hard done by if the State won’t allow them write off all of their tax liability against the cost of interest accrued on their property, a property they will have the final reward on. – Yours, etc,

BERNARD CANTILLON,

Anna Villa,

Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

Madam, – At long last the plight of the hard-pressed landlord has been highlighted, although it has taken an agent to do so (Gavin Mulcahy, September 8th). Few landlords dare protest in a hostile media and public environment which places all landlords in the box labelled “the exploitative class”.

Mr Mulcahy clearly explains the reality that very many landlords are on average incomes and are struggling with their “investments”. Many are PAYE workers. We have seen rents collapse and even in the context of interest rates dropping many are making a loss month on month. The value of our assets has gone through the floor and may not recover for a generation. In addition to the €200 levy and the reductions in interest relief, we also face stealth taxes such as the €70 charge merely to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board every time we change tenants (often more than once a year) and the climate-saving Building Rating Energy (BER) certificates that prospective tenants pay not the slightest heed to.

Rents are not only falling when leases are been renewed. For landlords with tenants on rent allowance there have been two or three rent reductions since the start of the year, mandated by central government and imposed on landlords regardless of the legal niceties of legally binding contracts freely entered into.

Many landlords invested in property not out of greed but simply as a long-term investment that might perform better than pensions. Of course, the real crisis at present concerns families who are struggling to pay mortgages on their homes. In comparison, landlords do not expect or deserve any particular sympathy for the failure of their speculative investments. But neither do they deserve to be made scapegoats and to be taxed more and more on their ever- increasing losses. – Yours, etc,

PAUL CARROLL,

The Cloisters,

Clane, Co Kildare.

Madam, – Question: When is a carbon tax not a carbon tax? Answer: When its purpose is to raise revenue, not change behaviour.

The Commission on Taxation believes a carbon tax can yield €480 million for the exchequer next year, but there is no mention of what reduction in CO2 emissions this tax will produce. This suggests the new tax will be a disguised increase in excise duty only, and nothing to do with the environment.

The test will be public transport. If a new charge is placed on diesel for coaches and buses, it won’t be a carbon tax. It will be greenwash. – Yours, etc,

GERRY MULLINS,

Chief Executive,

Coach Tourism Transport Council,

D’Olier Street, Dublin 2 .

Madam, – One of the reasons given for the introduction of a property tax is that other countries have such a tax. Copying what someone else does is never a reason to do anything. There must be some cogent argument in its favour.

The other argument given in favour of property tax is that the tax base must be broadened. For me, as for the vast majority of people, this is a meaningless concept. All the taxes I pay ultimately come out of my income. My home yields no income and therefore should not be liable for tax. In my view, tax should only be applied to either income or spending on luxury goods. Apart from that, how are properties to be valued? Anyone who has ever sold or bought property will know that the so-called experts, the auctioneers, cannot accurately value property. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN MURPHY,

Sandycove Close,

Sandycove, Co Dublin.

Madam, – The 1911 Census required householders to state the number of front-facing windows in their dwellings. Instead of asking householders to value their houses in a very uncertain market, the proposed property tax could be based on a windows count.

How about a tax of €100 per front-facing window or one-third of total windows whichever is the greater? It would be very easy for Revenue to check this, and evasion, by bricking up windows, should be evident. A window tax was used in the UK and France in the 19th century as an alternative to income tax and gave rise to the phrase “daylight robbery”. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN FLANAGAN,

Ardmeen Park,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.