Charlie Weston: Property-tax hardship will only pile on the pressure

Irish Times
24.06.2010
By Charlie Weston

THE results of an EU survey that found that almost three in 10 Irish people fear they may run out of money for food, day-to-day bills and consumer items should be a wake-up call for the Government.

The study also found that 15pc of consumers feel their job is threatened.

And who, in the private sector, would not be rational to think their job is threatened given that unemployment now stands at 12pc, comparable to figures last seen in 1995?

The EU survey also found that a staggering 45pc of Irish respondents feel there is a high or moderate risk that they would not cope with an unexpected expense of €1,000 in the next year.

The fact that almost half of the people surveyed in this country could not cope with a €1,000 bill is shocking and should prompt the Government to stop and think before imposing a new property tax.

Because €1,000 is likely to be the annual cost for an averaged-sized family home of the property tax the Government is mulling over introducing in the future.

Many of those asked to shell out for a property tax will be among the around 350,000 people who are in negative equity.

These are the very people who bought during the housing boom, in the last six years, paying peak-of-the-boom prices and hefty amounts of stamp duty.

Someone who buys a house today for €300,000 will fork out €12,250 in stamp duty, but stamp duty was even higher for some buyers up to two years ago.

Now these homeowners, who have been told by the Economic and Social Research Institute that they will be in negative equity for around 10 years, will not be one bit happy about having to pony up €1,000 a year in property tax.

Surely the findings of such a reputable poll should mean the Government pauses for thought before imposing more taxes and hardship on already under-pressure households.

Full article

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