Property tax “totally unnecessary” say campaigners

Campaigners against the property tax have said that the tax, which is being boycotted by huge numbers of people, is “totally unnecessary” and that the government should scrap it “unless it is prepared for a major battle with an angry public.”

“The government has claimed it hopes to raise €500million from the property tax,” said Gregor Kerr, spokesperson for the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT).  “But this is €500million that ordinary people – who have already suffered 5 years of austerity – simply don’t have.”

“Government, even at this late stage, should recognise that reality and should come up with alternative plans to raise this money,” Mr. Kerr continued.  “There are plenty of options open to them if they make the correct political choices.  They could, for example, choose to put a modest 1% wealth tax on the wealthiest 300 Irish people who last year increased their wealth by €3.9billion to €66billion.  That would bring in €660million and would hardly be missed by those affected.”

“Another option would be to introduce a new income tax rate of 48% on incomes over €100,000, this would bring in €365million,” said Mr. Kerr.  “Last year 10,000 ‘income units’ earned an average of €595,000 with 750 of them earning over €1million, and having an average gross income of €1.8million.  These are people who have not suffered the effects of austerity and who could well afford to pay more instead of trying to extract even more from people who are already bled dry.”

“If the government took steps to ensure that companies here actually paid corporation tax at the 12.5% rate they are supposed to it would bring in a huge amount of money,” Mr. Kerr concluded.  “The average effective rate of corporation tax is only 6% with many companies paying even less.  Starbucks Ireland, for example, has only paid €35,000 tax here since 2005 but has paid €5.7million in ‘royalty and licensing fees’ to its parent company.  And in the last 7 years Google has paid less than €70million in tax on sales of €47billion through its Irish operations. Ireland is headline news around the world today because it is being exposed as a haven for tax avoidance for massive multinationals like Google”

“All of these figures show that the property tax is totally unnecessary,” said Michael O’Brien of CAHWT.  “The government, however, has made the political choice to attempt to impose this tax on us instead of taking more taxation from those that can afford to pay it.”

“That’s a political choice that will cost them dearly,” Mr O’Brien continued.  “Hundreds of thousands of people are refusing to be bullied, threatened or cajoled into paying this austerity tax.  People are very angry and if the government moves to have the tax collected at source against people’s wills they are going to have a major battle on their hands.”

Michael O’Brien concluded, “Back in 1994 Enda Kenny said that “It is morally unjust and unfair to tax a person’s home……If the Government fail to appreciate the passion with which people will defend their rights to own their home … it is making a serious mistake”.  It seems the government – both Labour and Fine Gael – are determined to make that serious mistake.  If they continue with their attempts to impose this tax, they will arouse that passion and will pay the price politically.”

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