Does the new Property Tax threaten democracy in Ireland?

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Few will be surprised to hear that there are many calls on a licensee’s income in this day and age, both in business and personally.

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Off-trade

11 March 2013

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This month (and next) we’re taking a look at the banks and their actions to date in the licensed trade in seeking the appointment of receivers to certain pubs. What’s the real story and should premises that are behind in their mortgages/loans be particularly concerned now more than ever? And if they are in deepening debt to the banks, we’ll be looking at what to do and what not to do next month.

On the personal front, things seem like getting a lot more bleak with further havoc about to be wrought on the consumer’s (not to mention our own) ragged pocket through a double plunder via the forthcoming Property Tax followed pretty soon afterwards by the introduction of private Water Rates – all a drain on whatever diminishing reservoir of discretionary spend might be left – by now the undoubted distillate of continued prudent spending cutbacks.

We therefore take a closer look at the invidious Property Tax elsewhere in this issue. Enid O’Dowd – no slouch in taking the Government to task over TD’s expenses and health cutbacks – finds that this tax comes packing six-guns that few other Western Democracies would put up with. The Revenue Commissioners have now been given unprecedented draconian new powers to enter your home to asses your property. And another of the little-publicised aspects of this Tax is the 4% interest added on each year for those who literally can’t afford to pay whatever is deemed due by the Revenue Commissioners.

Oh – and that includes any unpaid Household Charge.

According to Chartered Tax Adviser David Fitzgerald in the piece, “The implication of this is that non-payment of the charge now becomes a non-payment of tax. This in turn can mean that your normal tax return is rendered incomplete with all the consequences of penalties, interest etc for a late/invalid return. Such returns carry penalties of 5% or 10% of tax due but it should be noted that the 5%/10% penalty will apply to all tax due, not just to the underpaid amount”.

Pretty serious stuff for the hard-pressed consumer and we expect the clamouring over the salary cutbacks in the civil service (what with the marches and the protests) to date to be a pretty tame traipse around a Summer’s day garden compared to what we’re likely to see when the full extent of the Property Tax, its penalties and invasions of privacy comes to be realised by the population as a whole.

I’d even go so far as to say that the introduction of this Property Tax legislation in its present format constitutes a distinct threat to our democracy.

This affects us all including your customers who’re likely to be left with sweet damn-all with which to pay you a visit by the time these new charges get their teeth into whatever flesh is left on their bones.

 

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