Property Tax is a good thing, but only one type of it.

We had an opinion piece in the Sunday Times this week in the ‘Money’ section, it was about property tax and the different types that the state have to choose from, property tax could be a very beneficial option for Ireland but only if it is implemented correctly and done on the correct basis, otherwise it just becomes straightforward ‘revenue raising’.

You can read the article by clicking on the image to the left, which is the .pdf version of the text below:

Everybody hates the idea of a property tax—except me. I believe it is the solution to much of what went wrong in Ireland and it could have prevented many of our present and future economic ills. The only caveat is that we must have a corresponding reduction in income taxes. Otherwise it would merely be another form of revenue raising by the government.

There are three options the state could choose from—a property tax, which includes …

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Are 100% mortgages the problem? Is LTV a symptom or a cause?

An article in the Independent yesterday pointed toward 100% mortgages being a significant attributer to the bubble, I would wager it was a symptom rather than a cause, the IBA meanwhile has called for all mortgages to be made on a non-recourse basis.

The good thing is that people and organisations are trying to find a way to avoid a repeat of the property bubble, and they are not one off events as the UK can testify.  There are however, significant factors contributing to what happened.

1: lenders didn’t price risk, they didn’t even ‘price at all’: Banks have utterly failed to do the job they were designed to do, namely that of profitable intermediation, we had huge amounts of competition on lending, that drove down criteria requirements and also compressed margins, then along came trackers, these had low margin price promises – Bank of Scotland brought them into Ireland and have since left. I spoke with a Bank exec. yesterday and he …

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Fred Harrison talks about the property tax

I called Fred Harrison in connection with a book review I had done for the national broker associations magazine ‘The Professional Insurance Broker’, I wanted to send him on a copy, what was meant to be a quick hello/goodbye turned into a fascinating chat on the topic of property taxes.

Something that we are seeing more of lately is a debate where the public sector are demonized – often for merely existing – and portrayed as being ‘wasteful’ and bloated. Bob Frank in the US said something to me before that stuck in my head, that ‘the serious waste occurs in the private sector, the public sector don’t go around buying hummers and other pointless trophies, the ‘waste’ in the public sector however, is found in the way that they budget and perform versus the private sector’.

I think that is profound, the public sector don’t waste in the same manner and it is important to remember that in any …

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Vlog on the Irish Economy – Ronan Lyons & Karl Deeter

I met up with Ronan Lyons (economist with Daft.ie) to talk about the ideas of property tax in Ireland, how it might be a fairer way to tax people than stamp duty, or indeed the abscence of property tax [because it rewards/doesn’t tax holding certain assets]. The discussion spread to other ideas in taxation, and eventually we made some predictions (I can already say they are bound to be wrong!) and then we took to the streets and asked Joe Public about their thoughts on the economy and whether or not they had any hope for the future.

If you want to watch the full conversation you can check out the playlist on youtube.

Ronan writes a very interesting blog, you can check it out at http://www.ronanlyons.com what I personally like best about Ronan (other than his affable good nature) is the unique take he has on many topics on Irish Propert (a subject I am very fond of), by utilising the daft database he is …

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Property Tax 2009: non-principal private residencies €200

The Local Government Act 2009 introduced a €200 annual charge for owners on non-principal private residences

The charge applies mainly to owners of private rental property and holiday homes.  It also applies to vacant residential property unless newly built but unsold (handy if you are a developer, lousy if you are the owner of a newly un-lettable gaff).  Liability to pay the charge is assessed by the owners themselves.  Ownership of a non-principal private residence on the ‘liability date’ (31st July 2009) determines liability to pay the €200 charge.

Payment is due by 30th September 2009. A €20 per month late payment fee will apply from 1st November in respect of each month for which payment is overdue. This bit is interesting – because normally surcharges and penalties for any unpaid tax are much much lower, this amounts to an ongoing 10% fine for every month – while €20 may not seem excessive, it is certainly (when viewed in percentage terms) extreme. Especially given that there is not much being published …

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How is TRS calculated?

TRS or Tax Relief at Source, is a mortgage related tax relief available to first time buyers. The working elements of it will be described in today’s post.

When you draw down a mortgage, if you are a qualifying applicant, then you can then apply for your TRS by downloading the TRS1p form from the Revenue website. After you send it off it will take a few weeks to process, and then you will get the years tax relief averaged out over the remainder of the year.

For example (we’ll show the calculations later) if your mortgage drew down in January but your TRS only kicked in during March then the relief would be paid as the average of 12 months over 9 months – say it was meant to be  €300 per month (had it started in January) then you’d be getting  €400 per month for the remainder of the partial year.

The …

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Infrastructure: Costing too much and rewarding so few

I am not about to say the Luas isn’t great, having used the service several times I find it to be more efficient than the Dart or bus and in the areas that it serves it beats other forms of transport hands down for speed in getting there, that is really the golden aim of public transport, make it cheap, fast, reliable and it will work.

The issue I have however, and that we will cover today is that the Luas went well over budget and in terms of a capital project we have rewarded the people along the Luas line with unearned capital gains which will never be taxed and that gain came implicitly at the expense of the taxpayer.

I was thinking of canvassing the houses along the Luas line to ask them if they felt that ‘bank bailouts’ were a rip off and if the tax payer should be rewarded for such actions given that the state were paying for it, then to ask them if they …

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The Irish Tax System

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for pint and the bill for all of them comes to €100. If they split their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first man (the poorest) would pay nothing, [he’s unemployed] The next three would pay nothing  [they have jobs but don’t earn above the minimum threshold of c.€18,300 for tax.] The fifth man would pay €1. He does pay some tax when he passes the minimum threshold. The sixth would pay €3. (lower industrial wage earner) The seventh would pay €6. (average industrial wage earner c.€35,400) The eighth would pay €12. (above average industrial wage earner – more than c.€35,400) The ninth would pay €30. (earner who is well into the 41% tax band) The tenth man (the richest) would pay €48. (spends almost all of their tax paying time in the 41% tax band)

So they split the bill in this way, satisfied that they were all paying to their …

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