The Property Tax Exemption list published recently bears little relation to reality according to James Lawless, Fianna Fáil’s Local Area Representative for the Naas Area, North Kildare.
James conducted research last year to uncover that 85 named estates within County Kildare had been refused provision of maintenance services by the County Council as they were deemed unfinished. James had anecdotal suspicions of estates being “cut off” from council maintenance and he confirmed this was the case when he pursued the issue via Freedom of Information requests last autumn.
The total list of estates not taken in charge across the county is into the hundreds says James. “Residents are now in the situation where they are literally looking out into darkness as the Council refuses to service their estate or fix basic faults such as public lighting” said James “and yet at the same time they are being asked to pay the full whack for property taxes with zero exemptions”.
“The Property Tax legislation contains a specific provision for unfinished estates to be exempted. I wrote to the Minister, enclosing the FOI listings of unfinished estates in County Kildare, requesting they be exempted under this provision. It beggars belief not a single one in that list have qualified”. “These estates are in the double whammy of not receiving public service and yet being on the hook for the full property tax. It seems illogical, unfair and at total odds with the provisions in the Act itself. They are unfinished when it comes to services but not when it comes to taxes it seems” said James.
“The household charge exemptions from last year appeared more to do with pot luck than any coherent criteria in terms of which estates were eligible and which weren’t. This year’s list simply beggars belief – regardless of service provision, completion status, whether or not taken in charge, all of those estates are now to be liable for the tax – it is at least consistent – equally unfair to all”.
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