Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Sean Fleming has described a promise by the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to “review” the Local Property Tax as a delaying tactic following growing concern over the impact of the review of valuations for the LPT due in 2016. Weekend reports referred to a looming “bombshell” facing homeowners.

Deputy Fleming said: “The Minister had an opportunity in the Dáil this week to accept a Fianna Fáil amendment to the Finance Bill which would have scrapped the review of property valuations for the LPT due in November 2016. While Fianna Fáil extracted from him a commitment to review the charge the reality is that as it stands homeowners are facing very considerable increases in the local property tax bills only a matter of months after the next election is due to take place. The government have already been forced into a series of u-turns on water charges, they desperately want to avoid further embarrassment in relation to the property tax. The review is simply an attempt to buy time on the issue.”

The Government included a provision in the Local Property Tax legislation which provided for a revaluation of properties in 2016. The previous valuation date of May 2013 was close to the point at which property tax values hit their lowest level. Since then property prices have been rising steadily. According to this week’s CSO data house prices in Dublin have risen by 41% in the 18 months since the last valuation date while apartment prices have risen by 42%. Nationally prices have risen by 25% since May of last year.

The revaluation process requires the homeowner to make a self-assessed declaration of their property value on 1st November 2016. Failure to do so accurately could lead to significant penalties.

Deputy Fleming stated, “Even if there is a slowing in the current rate of growth in property prices, it is likely that the next valuation date will see homeowners having to revise the valuation basis for their property tax declaration by 30% or more. For some Dublin residents it could be over 50%. For most properties, the effect of moving up one valuation band is an extra €90 per year. Some homeowners could see their home rise by three or four valuation bands adding up to €360 to their bill.

“The Government made a song and dance about bringing what it described as certainty to water charge bills but the potential impact on families from increased property tax is multiples of what they will pay for water. There is no reason why the Minister could not have dealt with this issue when Fianna Fáil raised it in the Dáil this week. The Minister needs to set out clearly the parameters for a review of the LPT and set a timetable for its conclusion. Failure to do so will add to the uncertainty which families face in relation to their household costs.”