Friday, 16 July 2021
Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
Paschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
I am not concerned at what those trade-offs could be. I am just saying that we could get to a point where there are trade-offs. That is all. While it has not happened in the debate so far, although it may have happened on Second Stage, normally, when we are having discussions about local property tax, the case is made for people who should be exempted from local property tax, as opposed to making the case for all those who are paying for it. I am just indicating that it is possible that that could happen if the Government decides to go ahead with a tax on vacancy.
I find the use of language quite interesting. The reference is to a "vacant residential property". Many vacant residential properties are people's homes that they are deciding not to use. A property that is vacant could be vacant because it is a family home and the family has decided that nobody is living in it for whatever reason. They are the kind of issues we would need to examine.
On the issue raised by Senator Higgins regarding an individual owning many different homes that are vacant, that is something we will need to tease out. In terms of individuals, companies or investors, I would be interested to see whether it is possible for enough homes or properties to be vacant that would have an impact on general rent levels. In any event, Senator Higgins is raising many very important points. If we get to the stage that we are going to make such a change in the taxation of properties that are vacant, it will be at that point that many of the issues the Senator is raising will need to be teased out.