herald

Saturday 22 September 2018

Property tax discount plan 'means you won't pay twice for services'

Fianna Fail's Darragh O'Brien announced the discount plan
Fianna Fail's Darragh O'Brien announced the discount plan

Apartment owners paying hefty management fees could receive property tax discounts under new plans.

Fianna Fail housing spokesman Darragh O'Brien is tabling legislation this week in relation to the issue.

He said the average property tax reduction would be about €86 a year across more than 200,000 units, costing the State around €17.5m.

It is aimed at ensuring the country's 200,000 apartment owners are not paying on the double for property services.

Fianna Fail will bring legislation before the Dail for the introduction of reduced property tax rates for apartment owners to offset the cost of management fees.

Mr O'Brien said there were tens of thousands of apartment owners paying double for services associated with their properties.

"The local property tax was established to fund services such as maintaining public lighting, roads and paths, groundskeeping and managing public parking," he said.

"However, management fees are now going towards many of these services, which essentially means that some homeowners are paying for the same thing on the double."

Mr O'Brien said his party believes there should be a recognition that people are paying twice for the same services, and to that end it proposes a partial reduction in the local property tax equal to one-third of the management fee, one-third of the local property tax or €300, whichever is the lower amount.

"Under the proposed legislation, nobody would ever gain more than €300," he said.

Equitable

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who is currently overhauling the property tax system, said he would consider discount rates for apartment owners.

"In the spirit of the confidence and supply agreement, I will certainly consider the proposal from Fianna Fail," he said.

Mr O'Brien added: "This legislation is about ensuring we have a fair property tax system where nobody pays on the double for the same services."

He said his party is committed to ensuring there is no increase in the local property tax for homeowners and to ensuring a fairer, more equitable system is put in place.

"I will work with other parties to achieve this," he said.

Under the proposal, the owner of an apartment paying €315 in property tax a year, with €800 annual management fees, would see their bill reduced to €210 based on a third of their property tax .

An apartment owner paying €1,035 in property tax every year, with €600 annual management fees, would see their bill reduced to €835 based on a third of their management fee.

The move comes as Mr Murphy and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are reviewing property tax.

They are expected to announce changes to how it is charged ahead of this year's Budget.

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