People often discuss economic incentives in terms of ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’, it’s an adage that refers to getting a donkey to work, you use a carrot to entice it forward or a stick to give a more coercive physical encouragement.
When it comes to property tax the rules in Ireland are damn near shambolic. Our property tax rates are some of the lowest in Europe, for that reason under-occupancy reigns supreme and nobody has to pay the price for it other than those who are on the outside looking to get in (ie: mostly renters).
We have a tendency to under use property, this isn’t just well to do older people living in big houses on their own, it happens in low-income homes too, to an extent that you just don’t see in almost any other well run European country, in fact, elsewhere almost the opposite is true. (see the table below).
In fact, when it comes to people in the lowest quintile of income, we are exceptional because many of them own their own homes outright, this is …