Donegal homeowners could face 15% hike

Inishowen TD Charlie McConalogue has warned Donegal homeowners they could be hit with a 15% increase in the property tax as early as next year.

According to the Donegal Deputy it was widely understood that both the house valuation and the rate of tax to be paid would be fixed for three years. However the Fianna Fail representative states that the Revenue Commissioners have confirmed that Fine Gael and Labour have put in a provision for local authorities to raise the tax by between €60 and €75 on an average home in Kildare.

He explained that homes valued at €200,000 will pay €405 in tax in 2014, which could jump to €466 the following year. The tax on a home valued between €250,000-€300,000 could increase from €495 to almost €570.

Deputy McConalogue commented: “This is a very sneaky move by Government and it’s causing anger and distress among Donegal homeowners. The Revenue booklet on the property tax was very misleading. It created the impression that the property tax would remain the same for three years. This legislation never got the kind of public scrutiny that was needed, the government shut down the debate and forced the tax through. Now it’s emerged local councillors could be forced to increase the tax next year.

He went on: “Fianna Fáil is genuinely concerned that once Fine Gael and Labour have the local election behind them, they will cut the funding to local authorities like Donegal County Council and force them to increase the tax on the family home. We have made it clear from the outset that this absolutely the wrong tax at the wrong time. Burying a provision for an early increase in the tax makes what was already a deeply flawed plan even more unfair.

“This comes down to the fact that Fine Gael and Labour want people in Donegal to pay more tax for fewer services. The latest figures from the CSO show that over the past year there has been a 7% increase in prices in the ‘Utilities and Local Charges’ heading. This covers electricity, gas, landline costs and waste collection. Higher costs, fewer services – that is the reality of Fine Gael and Labour in government.

“Disposable incomes are being targeted time and time again by this Government, while Fine Gael refuses to even consider higher taxes for high earners. The message I am hearing from people couldn’t be clearer: They simply cannot take any more,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.