A story in the Irish Times today suggests that the government may give some tax relief to those who paid large amounts of stamp duty relatively recently, in the event of a property tax being introduced next year. Whereas it seems like a fair and reasonable idea, I can already see where the bone of contention is going to be, the “talk to Joe” moment. Can anyone see it?
The cut-off point. Just watch as the government announces that, say, anyone who paid stamp duty after June 1st 2007 will be exempt for the first five years. Watch as everyone who paid in the previous twelve months to that take to the airwaves in indignation. Watch as opposition TDs (especially on the left. Curious how much time the Irish left spend defending the very wealthy) take up the banner on behalf of those who bought hugely expensive houses and so paid large amounts of stamp duty. Watch as opportunistic independent TDs demand that the time line should be extended to a more “fair and equitable” deadline, like, say, June 1st 1854. There will be war.
Of course, all of this will be academic if the government fails to enforce the Household Charge. We all know people who have not paid, and we’ll know if they get away with it, and if they do, the government can forget about the property tax. You would assume that they know that, but you can never know how insular the Leinster House mind can get.