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Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

IMF: We want property tax of 0.5 per cent. Noonan: Nope, not happening.

OH, IT’S ON (well, kind of. It’s all very civil).

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan has rejected a call from the IMF for a property tax of 0.5 per cent, saying that it would be “too high”.

In its latest review of Ireland’s bailout progress this afternoon, the IMF suggested that a property tax of 0.5 per cent would provide a “stable” source of revenue for the State if it was “suitably high”.

However speaking this evening from the Fine Gael annual think-in, Minister Noonan said that the government had “no intention” of introducing a property tax at 0.5 per cent.

Speaking on RTE Radio One’s DriveTime, the Minister refused to be drawn on any further details about the tax before it is announced on Budget Day, which he said is likely to be on the first Wednesday in December.

“We have no intention of introducing it at the rate of 0.5,” said Noonan.

That would collect a billion, and I have expressed the view that that is far too high. I have also pointed out… that the document published by the IMF which contains that advice and that piece of advice we’re not taking on board. But we are taking the piece of advice on board that there must be a property tax because that’s part of the bailout programme.

The Minister said that the Budget will be tough because “any kind of measure that could be deemed a soft option was taken in previous Budgets”.

He also said that the coalition will do its best to honour its commitment in the Programme for Government not to increase income tax in the Budget.

Separately, the Minister was broadly positive of the rest of the IMF’s latest review of Ireland’s progress under the bailout deal.

The review called on Eurozone finance ministers to get to work on putting in place a plan to separate Ireland’s sovereign debt from its bank debt.

“In relation to the ongoing challenges that the Irish economy faces, the IMF highlight the high level of public and private sector debt and we are committed to addressing these issues,” Noonan said.

In addition, the IMF emphasise that Ireland’s continued recovery will be influenced by developments in the eurozone. I will continue to work with my European colleagues to find solutions to the problems facing Ireland and the eurozone.

Read: IMF turns up heat on demands for Irish bank debt deal >

Read: Ireland making ‘such good progress on all fronts’ – Van Rompuy >

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