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Property tax will only apply for half of 2013 - Hayes

The junior finance minister tells Newstalk that people “shouldn’t overreact” to the IMF’s suggestions on a 0.5% tax.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

JUNIOR FINANCE MINISTER Brian Hayes has said the forthcoming property tax will probably only be applied for the second half of 2013, irrespective of the method for charging it.

Hayes said it was his understanding that the tax would only be levied from the second half of next year, and then on a whole-year basis from 2014.

“The final decision hasn’t been taken,” he told Newstalk’s Breakfast programme. “My understanding is it’ll be a half year next year, and a full year the following year.”

Hayes was speaking in response to calls from the IMF to levy a tax equivalent to 0.5 per cent on the value of homes, which could mean the average home paying a four-figure tax each year.

“If you applied that the IMF are suggesting… it would be up over €1,000,” Hayes said, going on to comment: “That would completely make it impossible for the domestic economy to grow.

“All you’re doing is depressing domestic demand further, and no one wants that.”

The Fine Gael minister sought to downplay the weight of the IMF’s suggestion, drawing a distinction between two reports published by the Washington-based Fund yesterday.

I wouldn’t take too seriously what came from the report yesterday, on the basis that it really is a medium-term look by the IMF, it’s not the immediate budgetary concerns of the state.

The IMF yesterday released two documents relating to Ireland – its usual quarterly update on Ireland’s affairs under the bailout programme, and a separate ‘Article IV’ review in which it offers a wider analysis of Irish finances and suggestions for improving them.

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

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Gavan Reilly

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