Opinion: Kerry County Council was split down the middle in a vote on whether a five per cent increase in the basic rate for the Local Property Tax, approved last year, be maintained and it eventually too the casting vote of Mayor Norma Foley to ensure it will return to base rates for 2019. Here, social affairs commentator, John Tierney tells why he considers the tax to be unwanted and uninvited house guest
A CRUMB of comfort for people without a home of their own is that their unwanted state sees them not liable for the Local Property Tax.
Since its introduction in July 2013, this financial liability on home ownership has been subcontracted to an organ of the State who uses its power with might and main to quell any attempt at non-compliance.
Lying behind the bureaucrat text that the Local Property Tax is a self-assessed tax charged on the market value of residential properties in the State is the family home; This residence for which a person/persons worked hard, paid penal direct and indirect taxes and made a social commitment to a community.
Then when the end of the property purchase maze is reached, the government steps from the shadows and offers the Local Property Tax gift wrapped with a perpetuity ribbon.
The political spin that trots out the missive that the Local Property Tax aids local government funding is at best a senior political moment that forgets years of chronic underfunding of local authorities by successive governments.
For a country that is expensive to exist and live in one asks where are all the taxes paid to central government ending up? The tax trickle-down effect has yet to trickle-down to those who get up early and go to work.
A tax on the family home, regardless of its value, is taking the taxation ethos into a space where the government of the day could be open to a claim of encroaching into a person’s right to accept and pay taxes that are just and equitable.
The Local Property Tax is an unwanted and uninvited house guest that has outstayed its non-existent welcome.
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