In September 2014 Dublin City Council voted to reduce the Local Property Tax by 15%, the maximum amount permissible by law. Warmly welcoming the decision, Frank Kennedy, Fianna Fáil councillor for Pembroke-South Dock said “The property tax causes hardship and anxiety to a great many people who are under colossal pressure to make ends meet. I am glad that Dublin City Council has taken this step.”
However, Frank noted that serious problems remain. A number of aspects of the property tax are unfair to residents in Pembroke-South Dock. Many houses and apartments in this area have a comparatively high valuation, but the tax does not take into account the enormous mortgages on some homes, or the fact retirees or those who have lost work no longer have the income stream to meet this tax.
It is also unacceptable that in 2014 property tax receipts were not spent locally, as had been promised. Instead, they were diverted to help set up Irish Water, with disastrous financial consequences.
The most pressing problem of all is the so-called property tax “timebomb”. In 2016, all properties will be revalued for LPT purposes. Given the recent substantial increases in property prices, unless this problem is addressed almost everyone will face a significantly increased tax liability next year. Frank observed “This problem is staring us in the face and unfortunately the Government seems oblivious to it. Fianna Fáil proposed legislation in February 2015 to remove the strict 2016 revaluation date and instead give the Oireachtas the discretion on revaluation. This is a common sense measure which the Government should adopt without delay.”