21 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Green Party candidate for Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, has welcomed the ESRI’s call for the local property tax to be replaced by a site valuation tax.
“The Local Property Tax allow speculators to escape paying their share of taxes while home owners are taxed unfairly. A site valuation tax would be payable on any property ready for development, including land banks. It would be fairer to home owners too because it wouldn’t punish those who improve their houses. It would only be charged on the price of the land the home is built on.”
In May 2015, 250 sites and buildings were identified as derelict in Cork city but only 24 of these were on the city’s Derelict Sites Register.
The city council can place a 3% annual levy on these. However, 90% of the value of these levies goes uncollected. Of €209,000 in levies on derelict properties issued by Cork City Council from 2012 to 2014, just €21,000 was actually collected.
“Today, speculators can easily make a property ‘derelict’ by removing plumbing, roofs or windows,” Moran said. “That allows them to get away with paying no taxes on the property while they wait for it to increase in price for it to increase it price. This hits the publicly doubly. People are deprived of housing, meaning rents and house prices rise accordingly, and the councils loses out on funding, which Joe Soap then has to make up for.”
“This year Cork City Council voted to cut €1.5 million from local property tax because it is seen as unfair. That affects the money available for services. Last week, we learned that there’s a €1 million hole in revenue from rates. Meanwhile, there’s up to 250 property owners getting away without paying anything.”
The Green Party laid the groundwork for the introduction of a site valuation tax when in government. However, the Fine Gael/Labour government switched to the local property tax in 2013.