Michael Noonan rules out IMF property tax proposal of 0.5%

Tuesday 11 September 2012 05.57
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Michael Noonan rules out IMF proposal on property tax rate
Michael Noonan rules out IMF proposal on property tax rate
IMF has issued its latest review of the Irish economy
IMF has issued its latest review of the Irish economy

The Minister for Finance has ruled out an International Monetary Fund proposal that the household property tax be levied at a rate of 0.5%.

Such a move would mean homeowners with houses worth €200,000 would face an annual bill of €1,000.

Michael Noonan said the IMF proposal was advice from the international body, but he did not intend to take it as he regarded the rate as too high.

He said details of the property tax would be contained in December’s Budget, and it would be payable from next July.

Mr Noonan said it would be collected in a number of ways and the sanctions for non-payment would be detailed in the Finance Bill.

In its regular review of the economy, the IMF said the Government could make rapid savings by better targeting of social welfare supports, changing the way third level education is paid for and by changes to the health services.

The IMF said Ireland has a long way to go to bring down its budget deficit and advises against increasing income taxes, as this could damage economic growth.

It suggested a much higher rate of residential property tax - 0.5% - than that suggested by the Commission on Taxation.

It also issued its strongest call yet for European Union intervention to ease the cost of Ireland's bank bailout.

IMF mission chief for Ireland Craig Beaumont said it was very important that European authorities move ahead with using the ESM buy equity stakes in Irish banks, as a means of helping to support economic growth.

The IMF also suggested money can be quickly saved by better targeting of social supports, such as taxing child benefit, and a reduction in State pensions - for example closing out the 5% differential between contributory and non-contributory pensions.

It suggested changing the way third level education is funded, linking college fees to the costs and earnings potential of particular courses and tailoring course availability to skills shortages in the economy.

On the troika programme, the IMF said further reductions in public sector pay might be needed if frontline services come under threat.

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