‘I’ve put the council on notice over local property tax’

by Mark O'Brien
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A local councillor has said that he will fight any moves to increase the Local Property Tax next year.
Cllr Matt Waine claims that the prospect of an increase in the tax was mooted at a recent Operational Procedure meeting of Fingal County Council.
“At a recent Council meeting, management sought to soften up members by claiming there was now significant strain on the resources of Fingal to meet its obligations and deliver the services they are expected to deliver,” he said.
“Increase in population and the number of estates to be taken in charge by the council, greater demand for housing, the unwinding of the FEMPI legislation were all factors used to justify the need for Fingal to levy the full rate.”
Fingal County Council is one of four local authorities that have voted to reduce Local Property Tax by the maximum 15% each year since it was introduced in 2013.
Cllr Waine said that, while he appreciated that the Council was under increased financial pressure, other avenues should be explored in order to raise the revenue required.
“At the meeting I put the council on notice that if councillors voted to increase the financial burden on hard-pressed citizens, they would pay the price,” he said.
“I pointed out that there is a boom in the county and in many parts of the country but that it’s a boom for the super wealthy and big business who pay little in tax.
“Many of the multinational corporations, who make enormous profits in Fingal, enjoy generous tax breaks and subsidies from taxpayers.
“Some are paying obscenely small rates of tax, and some are paying virtually nothing.
“According to the CSO, profits have risen from €41 billion in 2010 to €75 billion in 2015.
“In 2015 alone, profits rose by €23 billion. I think it’s time these people paid their fair share.”
In response to Cllr Waine’s statement, a spokesperson for Fingal County Council said: “The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended), makes specific provision that elected members of a local authority may pass a formal resolution to vary the basic rate of the Local Property Tax for their administrative area by a percentage known as the local adjustment factor.
“At the meeting set by Fingal County Council to consider this matter, the members may set a local adjustment factor within the range of +/- 15% of the basic rate, or, may decide not to adjust the basic rate.”
The Council will meet in September 2017 to consider adjusting the rate.
A period of public consultation on the issue will begin from Monday July 3 and will be open until Thursday, August 3.

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