McGrath warns that property tax could be "political dynamite"

McGrath warns that property tax could be "political dynamite"

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath

The introduction of a property tax to replace the current household charge will be “political dynamite” if it goes ahead.

That’s the view of Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath, who warned that “many ordinary people could be facing property tax bills of €500 and more.”

However, speaking today Deputy McGrath said he welcomed Junior Minister Brian Hayes’ claims at the weekend that there may be concessions for those who paid high levels of stamp duty in the boom years.

Mr McGrath said the situation facing “people in negative equity, those suffering mortgage arrears and those with a genuine inability to pay” should be taken into account.

The Fianna Fáil spokesman added: “The full property tax is going to be political dynamite in 2013, and the reality is that many ordinary people could be facing property tax bills of €500 and more.”

However, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said the whole notion of a property tax as well as the current household charge should both be scrapped.

“Any waiver system must be based on people’s ability to pay, not on the level of stamp duty paid in the past,” he said.

The proposed exemption from property tax for those who paid stamp duty at the height of the market could mean “a windfall in tax relief for high earners and owners of very large properties,” he said.

Just over 890,000 have so far registered for the household charge of €100, meaning around half of those eligible for the charge have not.

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