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Property Tax Exemptions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 November 2017

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Questions (138)

Noel Rock


138. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce an exemption for old age pensioners for the payment of local property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48817/17]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The 2012 inter-Departmental Group which considered the structures and modalities of a property tax that a universal liability to the Local Property Tax (LPT) recommended that it should apply to all owners of residential property with a limited number of exemptions. Limiting the exemptions available allows the rate to be kept low for those liable persons who do not qualify for an exemption. While there is no specific exemption from the requirement to pay LPT for pensioners under the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended), such persons may be entitled to an exemption on other grounds or may qualify for a deferral subject to meeting the qualifying conditions.

The inter-departmental Group considered the provision of deferrals for households unable to pay the tax or where a payment requirement would cause hardship. As a general principle, eligibility for deferral should be based on gross income. Part 12 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) accordingly provides for a system of deferral arrangements for owner-occupiers where there is an inability to pay the tax and the person meets certain criteria based on income thresholds. These deferral arrangements also take account of mortgage interest payments made by the property owner.

The property must be the sole or main residence of the liable person and his or her gross income must be below certain thresholds. The thresholds are €15,000 for a single person and €25,000 for a married couple, civil partners or cohabiting couple. Deferral in respect of half of the local property tax payable is possible, where the gross income is above the threshold but less than €25,000 in the case of a single person and €35,000 in the case of a couple.  

Following his 2015 review of LPT, Dr Don Thornhill recommended that the deferral options should continue to apply and that the relevant income thresholds be revised periodically in line with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Dr Thornhill also recommended that for owner-occupiers aged 80 years or over and also for those with stated certified long term illnesses and disabilities who are living alone, that consideration be given to raising the eligible income limit for deferrals to €20,000. My Department will be considering issues relating to the implementation of this and other recommendations made by Dr Thornhill in due course.

I have no current plans to introduce an exemption along the lines proposed by the deputy.