THE taxpayer will be saddled with a €20,000 annual mansion tax bill following the decision to impose the property tax on the presidential home of Michael D Higgins, right, the Herald has learned.
The Revenue Commissioners contacted the Office of Public Works (OPW) last week to inform it that Aras An Uachtarain was not exempt.
Officials were told that the State body must pick up the tab for the tax levied on the President's home, which experts say will be in the region of €20,000 per year.
The sprawling Phoenix Park property is difficult to value because it has not been sold since the formation of the State.
However property experts agreed on a 'conservative estimate' of €8m-10m.
"In the good times, you would be talking massive sums, but I think, when location and size are taken into account, this is a conservative estimate," one property expert said.
This means the property will be subject to the mansion tax, calculated at 0.25pc for homes valued above €1m, saddling the taxpayer with a bill of about €20,000 if the property tax remains at its current rate.
The news caused shock among Government circles over the weekend.
"It was assumed that the Aras would be treated like a State property and would be exempt. To say this has come out of the blue is an understatement.
"But the legislation is finalised, so there is nothing that can be done," said a cabinet source.
Sources said that President Higgins was unaware until this week that the Aras would be subject to the levy.
Other OPW lodgings that house Government officials – such as Farmleigh – in the Phoenix Park will also be subject to the tax, the Herald understands.
Mr Higgins, a former Labour Party president, will, however, have to fork out the property tax levied on his Galway home where his grown-up children currently live.