Property tax will broaden tax base - Minister Michael Noonan

Friday 01 March 2013 17.08
Minister Michael Noonan said amendments were not as a result of rushing the legislation through before Christmas
Minister Michael Noonan said amendments were not as a result of rushing the legislation through before Christmas

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said the local property tax would broaden the base for taxation in a way that does not impact on jobs and provide stable funding for local authorities.

The minister said it would, in turn, encourage greater efficiency by local authorities and meet the terms of the agreement of the Troika.

He said his amendments were not as a result of rushing the legislation through before Christmas.

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister Noonan said there were many deputies in the house who were happy to pay property taxes in France and Spain, but were objecting to the tax here.

During the Dáil debate, Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell said she wanted to reiterate her deep unhappiness with the method of calculation used to determine property tax liability.

She said the proposed regime was so unfair to Dublin dwellers and to a lesser extent those in Cork.

In its current form, she said, it could not stand the test of time.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said the last thing those in arrears needed was another bill relating to their property.

He asked the minister how many more people did he think would be pushed into mortgage arrears and how much money did he think would be sucked out of the real economy.

Mr Doherty said a wealth tax would not break the backs of working families.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath said the property tax was deeply unfair.

He said the tax took no account of the income profile in the house being taxed.

Houses did not represent wealth for most people today, rather they represented debt and the property tax was not a tax on (asset) wealth but a tax on debt, he said.

Mr McGrath said the Labour Party had argued for regional variations in any charge in the interests of fairness.