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Ireland: Property Recovery Hit By Home Tax Blunder

21 November 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Irish Independent
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Author: Irish Independent

A BLUNDER in the property tax legislation is now stalling house sales, with buyers and sellers arguing over who has to pay the bill for the tax due in 2014.

Just as the housing market was getting back on its feet, a loophole that exempts most buyers this year from the property tax is causing mass confusion.

A massive mistake in the wording of the property tax legislation, as revealed by the Irish Independent, unintentionally gave a three-year exemption to most homeowners who bought during 2013.

But the latest property tax confusion centres around who actually owns the house when the tax liability arises.

Sellers currently finalising the sale are saying they shouldn't have to pay the tax due for 2014 as they won't own the house next year.

However, buyers are claiming that they are exempt from the property tax for the first three years and so argue that they won't pay either.

The sale can't actually go through until the property tax bill is sorted out.

The logjam will affect an estimated 4,500 house sales in the last two months of the year.

The latest property tax debacle comes as the Government performed a major U-turn on plans to force thousands of farmers and the self-employed to pay their tax months earlier than usual.

That was greeted with relief from the business and agricultural communities.

Now Finance Minister Michael Noonan is under pressure to step in and clear up the latest property tax chaos.

Reform Alliance senator Fidelma Healy-Eames said she had been contacted by solicitors handling house sales who said the situation was a mess.

She said there were 2,240 house sales in October and that up to 4,500 sales were likely to be completed in November and December.

"This is causing enormous stress. The minister and Revenue need to clear this up," she said.

Ms Healy-Eames wants the Oireachtas Finance Committee to call in Revenue officials again to clarify matters.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has revealed that he had known about the property tax loophole since the spring.

This article first appeared in independent.ie.


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