herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'No further shocks' as hated home tax frozen until 2019

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White and Finance Minister Michael Noonan at Lissadell House Cabinet Meeting
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White and Finance Minister Michael Noonan at Lissadell House Cabinet Meeting

The Government has pledged a property tax freeze for hard-pressed homeowners.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has promised there would be "no future shocks in the demand for property tax" ahead of the Cabinet meeting in Lissadell House, Sligo.

And sources have said that Mr Noonan is considering introducing a freeze on the hated tax up until 2019.

Mr Noonan said that since the valuations were done, property prices in Dublin have increased by 40pc and around 20pc in the rest of the country.

When homes and properties were given valuations in 2013, the Government committed to keeping the tax unchanged until 2017.

Prices

Homeowners in the capital faced a huge increase if the price of their house moved into a different tax band when revaluation was due to take place in October 2016, in line with rising property prices.

But there are indications that the revaluation may be put off until 2018 - or even as far as 2019. However, Mr Noonan said that property tax is "the big issue economically and politically," adding the Government is examining ways "to keep the tax take about the same as it is now".

"I am not going to be in a situation if we are back in government ... where there is a huge jump in the take on property tax," he said.

"What I am committing to the people in advance is there will be no sudden shocks in advance of the property tax."

It's understood that the Government is debating whether to introduce a flat rate nationally, or whether the tax would be adjusted according to location.

"We'll have to work out how we'll do future valuations and whether it will be a national charge or whether there will be some local element for some local authorities in it," the minister said.

Mr Noonan also noted that the recovery "is bedding down now, it's becoming deeper".

"Obviously that's very good news in terms of the Budget," he said, adding that he expected to have between €1.2bn and €1.5bn to spend.

It is the first time that Mr Kenny's government has held a Cabinet meeting outside Dublin, and Lissadell House was chosen to mark the 150th anniversary of WB Yeats birth.

The Cabinet approved the publication of the childcare report published by Minister for Children James Reilly.

They also agreed on a new law to give adopted people the right to acquire their birth certificates for the first time.

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