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Government wants property tax reduction law for those paying management fees pushed back six months

Fianna Fail said those paying property tax and management fees are paying on the double.

Image: Niall Carson

HOMEOWNERS WHO ARE already paying management fees should get a reduction in their property tax Bill, according to Fianna Fáil. 

The party proposes that householders should get a reduction in their property tax bill worth one-third of the management fee, one-third of the local property tax, or €300 -  whichever is the lower amount.

The amount would be capped at a maximum of €300 per year.

The property tax reform will end homeowners paying for the same services on the double, according to Fianna Fáil. 

The government will not oppose the Bill, but have called for a deferral of the proposed legislation for six months, where a second reading of the Bill will then take place. 

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told Cabinet today that the government wants to hold off on the Bill to allow for the review of the local property tax scheme to be published. 

The report which will recommend reforms of the property tax scheme is due to be published shortly.

Cost implications 

A government spokesperson said further consideration of the Bill is needed due to the cost implications such a move would have on local authorities who collect the tax. 

Commenting ahead of the Dáil debate on the proposed new laws, Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien said the local property tax was intended to fund services in residential developments such as maintaining public lighting, roads and paths and grounds keeping.

“There are more than 200,000 apartments and tens of thousands of other homes nationwide whose owners all fork out management fees to service the property. In the six or so years since the introduction of the tax, it has transpired that these management fees are also going towards the same services as LPT, which means some homeowners have been liable for paying twice for the same services,” he said. 

O’Brien said a partial reduction in the property tax that equates to “one-third of the management fee, one-third of the local property tax, or €300, whichever is the lower amount” should be introduced. 

If the private members Bill is passed by the Dáil, a government spokesperson said consideration will have to given to the Bill, but due to cost implications, a money message, would essentially blocks the proposed legislation would likely be put down.

There have been concerns in recent months about changes to the property tax. 

Amid speculation about revised property tax rates, which are to reviewed for the first time this year, Donohoe said in January that any changes will be “affordable and predictable”.

He added that no one will have to pay up this year, with the first bill due to arrive early next year.

Currently, property tax is based on the market value of a house, but due to the rapid increase in house prices, there have been concerns about the massive leap in tax homeowners will have to pay.

Frozen

In 2015, the LPT being paid by homeowners was frozen until 2019, meaning that people whose properties had increased in price or had been improved still only had to pay the same rate of tax that they have since the original LPT valuations in 2013.

Another round of valuations were due this year, but because house prices have been constantly rising in the past several years, politicians are concerned that the LPT will rise dramatically when the valuation date of March 2013 is to be reviewed by the government.

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