The nonsense of VAT reclaims for ending the black market

One of the property concessions in budget 2014 was the ‘home renovation incentive scheme’. This is intended to allow people to get the VAT back on construction work done where the spend is over €5,000 and below €30,000.

While this is viewed as a ‘construction stimulus’ it is in fact a ‘black market disrupter’ which will run from the 1st of January 2014 to the 31st of December 2015. The reclaim will be valued at between €675 and €4,050 and will be given in the two years following the year the work is done, you also must be LPT compliant in order to avail of it.

So think it through, you will pay a certain amount of VAT on top of a job (or more appropriately the builder will charge you that) and over the two years after it you get it back in two tranches.

We have to make a few assumptions here, the first is that the cost of VAT on top of work is a deterrent from purchasing a service like construction, as VAT is an end …

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The Last Word with Matt Cooper – talking property tax

On the 7th we were asked to speak with Matt Cooper about the local property tax figures which showed that 25% of properties in Ireland are worth less (at least on a tax submissions basis) than €100,000.

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Taxing sites: Isn’t that what a site value tax would have done?

When I heard that Dublin City Council was considering a tax on undeveloped sites I nearly choked on my coffee. The introduction of the Local Property Tax was contentious, for many it was contentious not because we were being taxed but because of ‘how’ we were being taxed.

That’s because a sizeable group of people believed that a site value tax would be a better alternative. Our government promised this on page 15 of their programme for government where they stated that they would ‘consider, arising from the previous Government’s deal with the IMF, various options for a site valuation tax‘.

That the Local Property Tax isn’t even going to local authorities this year is a serious snub, but to then turn around and in the same year see a Council look for a separate and additional tax on sites only demonstrates that we are …

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Property tax paying bondholders?

This was something that broke while I was on annual leave, it’s really infuriating to see that the property tax which was meant to be a fresh start for local authorities funding is (for 2013) not going to be given to them.

While a politician will always find a way to wiggle out of being called a liar, it’s pedantic to the extreme to think that the public would have realised that it was only going to local government from 2014 and not from the outset. If that was common knowledge it wouldn’t have made a headline so recently.

Given that this is bad outcome it does have to be balanced, and saying that the money is ‘going to bondholders’ is populist nonsense. If it is in the general expenditure coffer then it could go anywhere, you could equally spin the story that it’s going towards cancer wards in hospitals, that it is going towards supporting the homeless or anything else.

The tragedy here is that on the …

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Property tax exemptions – 2013 Finance Bill ammendment

The list of exempted properties is in the new property tax amendment to the 2013 Finance Bill.  Charities, properties held in trust, and those occupied by incapacitated people (within the meaning of section 189A(1) of the Act of 1997).

Of interest is section 7 which covers social housing. While access to social housing at the time of admission is normally due to diminished means of housing affordability, the upkeep, location and cost to local authorities is much higher than it would be for an equivalent private house. And a person in a social house is not removed should they become wealthier (their rent does increase).

Defaulting everybody in social housing into the lowest band places the same tax burden on people who may be at very different points in their career (and earnings capacity), it also doesn’t distinguish allowing for different groups within the social housing spectrum – there is a large difference in affordability between a younger single mother and an older couple with grown …

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TV3 The Morning Show, with Sybil & Martin, ‘Property Watch’

We were on TV3 again talking to Sybil & Martin about the Irish property market, the cancellation of TRS for people who aren’t paying their mortgage and of course about property tax! Angela Keegan from MyHome was there, they have a nifty property tax calculator (here) and we also mentioned how Revenue have the power to ‘attach’ which is something many people don’t know about.

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Irish Property Owners Association budget 2013 response

The Budget failed to address one of the key issues for landlords in the private rental sector, who are providing good quality homes for in excess of 600,000 people.

The so called Local Property Tax, billed for the funding of local services, should be collected from the people using the services under the “Users Pays Principle”.  “This perpetuates a blatant unfairness in the system”, said Stephen Faughnan, Chairman of the Irish Property Owners Association. “This situation will inevitably result in rents having to rise, and represents another layer of of continuing unfairness.” Property Owners in the private rental market may now be forced to participate in an unfair tax code.

The only very slight crumb of comfort in the Budget for private landlords is that the inequitable Non-Principal Private Residence Charge and the Household Charge are being abolished, but their replacement with a Local Property Tax just continues the discrimination whereby tenants and a variety of others availing of local services do not have to directly pay for those services, unlike private home owners who may live next door.

In …

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Talking property tax on WLR FM

We spoke to WLRFM yesterday (sound file here) about some of the contentious issues with a market value based property tax. Using values will ensure that the quantum collected is not strictly linked to any costs associated with running a local authority.

In the past this was a huge problem, it was the reason our last property tax died off, and when it came to domestic rates, it was used as political fodder in the 1977 general election where its repeal swung the election.

There are alternatives, Site or Land value tax and to have the tax linked to costs of a local authority would be far better, but we are instead opting for the path which suits the Government most rather than those who pay it.

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