Fianna Fáil has hit back at the government’s new property tax proposals, branding them “unfair”.
The opposition party has accused the government of ignoring “a fundamental canon of taxation law” in its proposals for the property tax.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said “ability to pay” was an essential element for the implementation of property tax but pointed out that over half a million people had mortgages.
He said: “For some unknown reason they are being expected to pay a significant family home tax, all in the context of a dead property market.”
He added that there are “many, many people” who don’t have the money to pay the tax before saying it was “essentially a very unfair tax because absent from the tax and its legislation is a fundamental canon of taxation law which is ability to pay.”
He said people “don’t have the capacity to pay the level of property tax that’s being put on them” before adding that “it’s the wrong time to put the tax on people.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was Mr Martin’s party who had originally signed on for the property tax.
Explaining the basis for the tax, Mr Kenny said it aimed to broaden the tax base. He pointed out that local authorities had found an “easy way to increase rates” on commercial premises. He said most of the tax would be used for services in the area where it was paid.
“That’s why the banding is fair and more progressive. The deferral options are there for those who find themselves in particular difficulties.”