The government’s intention to wait until the first week of December to announce any details whatsoever of the property tax it intends to introduce in 2013 will damage the economy during the critical period leading up to Christmas, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath. Deputy McGrath also reiterated Fianna Fáil’s opposition to a property tax at this time and called on the government to publish the Thornhill report immediately.
Deputy McGrath stated, “What we know so far is that the government will announce details of the property tax on budget day in December and will publish the enabling legislation at the same time. The government has said the tax will come into effect in July 2013, the Revenue will be responsible for its collection and it will levied at less than 0.5% of the property’s market value.
“This week in the Dáil, the Taoiseach was unable to tell me whether homeowners would be required to pay a full year’s tax or a half year’s tax in 2013. The absence of any basic information about the design of the property tax, the rate of the tax, the payment basis and exemptions will dampen consumer sentiment in the build up to Christmas. I believe this will cause many worried consumers to put off spending decisions with knock-on negative consequences for the retail sector and the wider economy.
“With retail sales continuing to decline on a year on year basis and consumer sentiment very weak, endless speculation about the government’s property tax plans will send shivers down the spine of many homeowners already struggling to make ends meet. I believe the government would be well advised to abandon its plans to introduce this tax in 2013.
“I understand the Thornhill report has been with the Minister for the Environment & Local Government Phil Hogan TD since early summer and yet it would appear there has been no substantive debate on the subject at cabinet level yet. Instead of engendering more budget fears through selective leaking, the government needs to come clean on how much the property tax will be, who will be required to pay and what exemptions will be provided for.”