Property Tax exemptions revealed

Wednesday 13 February 2013 21.58
Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said he would be introducing legislation in the coming weeks to repeal the Property Tax
Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said he would be introducing legislation in the coming weeks to repeal the Property Tax

The Government has outlined a list of exemptions to the Property Tax in the Finance Bill, which was published this afternoon.

The legislation puts measures that were announced in the Budget into effect.

The Government has confirmed exemptions for homes affected by Pyrite damage.

Houses adapted for the disabled will not be liable for the tax.

People who enter personal insolvency arrangements will be able to defer the tax for three years.

Properties owned by charities, such as girl guides and scouts, will be exempt.

The Finance Bill also introduces a tax break to encourage owner-occupiers to renovate Georgian homes and businesses renovate premises in cities.

The scheme will be launched on a pilot basis in Waterford and Limerick.

Both cities have above-average unemployment rates.

It allows homeowners to write off the cost of renovation against income tax.

The scheme will not be open to developers or investors and there will be restrictions for high earners.

Meanwhile, house purchasers will be required to inform the Revenue Commissioners if the previous owner has underpaid property tax, under the new legislation published today.

Section 5 of the Bill required the seller to supply the purchaser with the value of the property for Local Property Tax Purposes, and any seller that does not do so will be liable to a fine of €500.

Under another section, if it becomes clear to a purchaser that the value the seller has been using for the tax is lower than could be "reasonably arrived at", they are required to inform the Revenue Commissioners, who will then pursue the seller for any underpaid tax due.

Opposition criticises tax

Opposition parties have accused the Government of making the "bare minimum" of changes to the Property Tax.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath said "tweaking" of the legislation passed last December was welcome, but a chance had been missed to make the scheme fairer by linking it to ability to pay.

He said the difference in revenue raised by the Property Tax and the existing Household Charge was only around €100m, which could have been raised from other measures, such as a higher USC rate on high earners.

Mr McGrath said he had been expecting changes to the tax, particularly given complaints from Fine Gael TDs in Dublin about the disproportionate impact in the capital, but those complaints had "come to naught".

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said he would be introducing legislation in the coming weeks to repeal the Property Tax.

He said the tax was deeply unfair, and criticised a provision requiring a purchaser to report any underpayment of the tax from the previous owner of their new house.

Keywords: property tax

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