Tough property tax unveiled at Budget 2013

By Business Editor David Murphy @davidmurphyRTE

Make no mistake. This property tax is tough.

And the timing, at the nadir of an economic cycle, makes it even harder.

While people on social welfare will be able – mostly – to defer the tax, let’s consider exactly what that means. It does not mean they won’t have to pay – instead it means the tax will accumulate on the home, with interest added at 4% per annum.

When the home is sold or when the owner dies, the tax will fall due. But the fact that it can accumulate for year after year means the levy could be enormous.

Unless people accept their estate will have to pay, allowing the liability to accumulate is not sustainable in the long term.

People who paid thousands of euro in stamp duty, those who are in negative equity and most people in arrears will still be obliged to pay the property tax.

The policy of forcing those in mortgage arrears to pay is a cause for deep concern.

If the Government is serious about its policy of helping these victims of the boom, why make them liable for the charge?