What an absolute kick in the teeth for citizens the length and breadth of the country! It is nothing more than legalised extortion. Anyone who bought a house in the past twenty years has already paid massive taxation for the privilege. Of the average €300,000 price tag for a modest dwelling, over €165,000 went back to the Government in stamp duty, development levies, PAYE, VAT on materials and subcontracted labour.
Now with over 180,000 home owners already in mortgage arrears and many more in negative equity, the powers that be have decided to tax us again on this liability. Not to mind the blow it represents to older residents who have spent their lives paying for their homes and may be living on a small pension.
The Government had no authority for this tax. It is one of the most vicious attacks on the living standards of lower and middle income earners and will be a game changer in terms of Irish people getting off our knees and letting this Government know we have had enough. With over 50% of the population already struggling on only €50 per month after meeting essential bills, many people will simply not be able to pay. And if you happen to be too poor to pay you can defer the payment for a handsome fee of a 4% interest charge per year and your children can settle the bill when you’re dead and they sell the house.
This is Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the poor to continue the record of this government in allowing those at the top see their wealth continue to rise. A mere 3% increase in income tax on those earning over €100,000 a year would net an amount equivalent to the property tax. They keep saying we are the only ones in Europe who don’t pay a property tax. Well we’re the only ones in Europe with a 12.5% Corporation Tax rate-a paltry 3% rise here would yield twice the expected tax take from the property tax.
When you get that assessment form don’t feel intimidated or panicked. Feel angry and get organised! The Campaign Against Home & Water Taxes will be organising meetings in all areas, go along and get involved. A campaign of non-co-operation with the Revenue can put enormous pressure on the government. When you get the form, don’t send it back. Bring it to your local meeting and get informed. The legislation is extremely draconian and gives Revenue the power to come after you and take the money from your wages, from social welfare and any other state payments. But why make it easy for them?
If hundreds and thousands of homeowners make this stand it would clearly show that the Government has lost the moral authority of the people, make it harder for Revenue to get to you and would lessen the chance of penalties being imposed. Even if they succeed in putting their hands into our pockets and taking the money later in the year, it will simply mean that many people will not pay their mortgages for a month of will carry arrears on utility bills. You cannot get blood from a stone.
As if that wasn’t enough, later this year they will be sending out crews to install water meters. Bills of €300 to €400 a year for water are expected from 2014, on top of a full year’s property tax from January 1. They will keep squeezing us for every last drop as long as we let them.
But the lesson is clear. There are no white knights coming to rescue you. If you want things to change in this country, you need to get organised and take to the streets. We are only beaten when we lie down and give up.