Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Questions (158)

Catherine Murphy


158. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the status of his work in the context of the publication of the scrutiny report on the review of local property tax by the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight. [48566/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Earlier this year, the review of the Local Property Tax was completed by my Department in conjunction with the Departments of the Taoiseach, Public Expenditure & Reform and Housing, Planning & Local Government and the Revenue Commissioners and the report was published in April (available at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/1e5c76-review-of-local-property-tax/).  In accordance with its terms of reference, the review focused on the impact of house price movements on LPT liabilities under a series of scenarios involving different rate and tax band structures. The review also included an examination of the outstanding recommendations of the 2015 Thornhill review of the Local Property Tax. It included a consultation process to enable all interested parties and individuals to submit their views on the future of the LPT.

The Review Group found significant but geographically uneven increases in residential property price levels which made it difficult to identify a scenario that would deliver on the condition I set that there should be relative stability for all taxpayers in their LPT liabilities and that any increases should be modest, affordable and fair.

Having considered the findings of the review report, I decided to defer the valuation date from 1st November 2019 to 1st November 2020, and this was effected by ministerial order (S.I. No. 166/2019 - Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (Section 13(3)) Order 2019). This gave sufficient time for the Budgetary Oversight Committee to consider the review report in the context of the Committee’s recommendations in its report on LPT of 21 March 2018.  Importantly, as a result of my decision, the LPT bills of those liable for the tax will not be increasing in 2020. 

I met with the Committee in June to discuss the review of the Local Property Tax. The Committee also had a separate meeting with officials of my Department. I received the Committee's scrutiny report on the LPT review in September. In order to bring this matter forward we will need to introduce amending legislation and the Committee’s report will provide a valuable input to that work. I will revert to Government with proposals for changes to the Local Property Tax in a timely way. Any such change would need to be legislated for early in 2020 so that the Revenue Commissioners can be in a position to have the necessary administrative and technical arrangements in place in time in respect of the 2021 LPT year.