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12/18/2012 12:00:00 AM


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Donnelly, Stephen S.

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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787

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3

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

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Senator


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Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly

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Stephen S. Donnelly

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Snippet Contents:

I support the amendment. In fairness, I give the Minister ten out of ten for style - it was a good reply - but probably a bit less for substance. His reply went to the heart of the concern held across the House, one that has been echoed by his backbenchers. He stated that this was a tax on assets, but it is not. That is the problem. Let us keep using the example used by Deputy Pearse Doherty. The purchase price of a house was €250,000 and its market value is €60,000, but what is the asset? The asset is the loan, the €250,000 that the bank owns. If we are to tax the asset, let us tax the bank. In fact, the bank owns the house and the additional €190,000.
The Minister mentioned the Thornhill report and that this tax was based on it. However, the report's recommendation was not a rate of 0.18%. As the Minister knows, it was 0.1%, a little over half of what this tax will accrue. Critically, the Thornhill report recognised the issue of stamp duty, the tens of thousands of euro already paid by people, many of whom are now in negative equity and who do not own the assets on which they are being taxed. I would be pleased if the Minister considered some of the other recommendations in the Thornhill report, for example, halving the rate, recognising stamp duty and considering the asset.
The Minister eloquently deconstructed the Title to the Bill and I accept that it is a tax on property. However, I disagree with him on "local". I can use my situation as an example. I rent where I live in Greystones. I will not need to pay the tax there, although I would do so. Like other Deputies, I am paid a very good wage for what I do. I would pay the tax to Wicklow County Council because my family and I use services provided by it, but I will not need to pay.
I own an apartment - rather, the bank owns an apartment with my name on it - in Dublin. I will pay on that Dublin property, which I do not live in, and I will not pay on the property in Wicklow, which I do live in. I will pay on negative equity in Dublin. This goes to the heart of the bizarre nature of and technical flaws within this legislation. I would not have a problem with paying a local government tax in Wicklow as a resident of Wicklow who is on a decent income, but I will not be required to do so.
I thank the Minister for his reply to my question. He stated that the amendments would be dealt with, but they will not be addressed tonight. Rather, they will be dealt with as part of the finance Bill. When he mentioned the elements that would be addressed, he did not mention negative equity.