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Peter Mathews: "It would be easy because all the systems of collection are in place for those levies." Oireachtas screengrab
Property Tax

Fine Gael TD suggests mini-budget to avoid need for property tax

Peter Mathews suggests bringing in a betting tax, and levies on corporate profits and high incomes, instead of taxing households.

A FINE GAEL TD has openly suggested that Ireland should not introduce a property tax – and instead bring in a supplementary budget to find other ways of raising the €500 million that the tax would bring in every year.

Peter Mathews told the Dáil yesterday that he believed the Budget deficit could be closed by bringing in a ‘mini-budget’ – with levies on corporate profits and high earners, and a tax on betting.

“Could we dare to be courageous and bring in a supplementary budget that would park the property tax and bring in three other strands of revenue creation,” Mathews asked TDs during a debate on legislation to change some aspects of the tax.

Mathews said the three measures could form part of a ‘three year national recovery programme’.

Do we look to the large numbers of people who are weighed down, unfit, depleted and too exhausted to carry on their work to take more exhaustion, or do we look to the stronger people who are temporarily toned and strong and can carry the extra load?

To me, it makes sense to look to them, but we must explain to them the reason we are doing it. We should tell them we are doing it for three years, and that we would like them to step up to the mark with their stronger resources.

The Dublin South TD suggested a 2.5 per cent levy on corporate profits, which would yield about €650 million a year, a 4 per cent levy on the full incomes of people earning over €120,000 a year, and a betting tax – on all money gambled and not just on winnings – which could yield an estimated €250 million.

“It would be easy because all the systems of collection are in place for those levies,” he insisted.

“We would not have to give anybody extra powers or tell tales on anybody else; it is all in place. The only thing that is missing is telling the story, setting it out and explaining it.”

Finance minister Michael Noonan did not respond to Mathews’ suggestions when he was addressing the points raised by opposition TDs at the conclusion of yesterday’s debate. A vote on the legislation to change the property tax system will be taken next Tuesday.

Mathews was one of 86 TDs who voted in favour of introducing the property tax when the legislation was passed by the Dáil just before Christmas.

The former banker has had a sometimes uneasy relationship with the party leadership – last year he tabled a motion at the Oireachtas’ finance committee demanding the appearance of Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan to discuss the promissory note issue.

Mathews’ proposal was opposed by the party as a whole – forcing him to vote against his own motion, in a vote in which the government was still beaten due to the presence of Fine Gael members at a parliamentary party meeting elsewhere in Leinster House.

Quick poll: Do you agree with Peter Mathews’ proposals for alternative revenue measures?

Poll Results:

Yes (1281)
No (1003)
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Read: Pyrite homes, disabled accommodation to receive Property Tax exemption

More: Seller faces €500 fine if they under-declare value of home

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