Cllr. Noel Collins calls for ‘new taxes to discourage property speculators from cashing in on rocketing house prices’

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At the most recent meeting of the Southern Committee of Cork County Council, Cllr. Noel Collins raised the following motion: That this Council call on the Government to introduce in the Budget 2019 new taxes aimed at discouraging property speculators from cashing in on rocketing house prices.

Cllr. Collins stated, ‘The Government, from reports, is examining – and not before time – sweeping changes in capital gains tax relief on residential properties – over fears that people are exploiting the property market. A tax loophole has emerged which is allowing property speculators to “flip houses” without paying taxes, to the detriment of people looking to set up a family home.

‘The new Budget measure, as proposed, will aim to ensure homeowners are not unfairly benefitting from the housing market, while other people are struggling to find accommodation. The move could see the introduction of a cap on how often a homeowner can avail of tax relief on the sale of a family home, within a certain period of time. From reports, there is evidence of people being granted tax relief on family home sales, on numerous occasions, over a short period of time.

‘At present, homeowners can apply for principal private residence relief on the sale of their homes, which exempts them from 33% capital gains tax. Tax relief allows property owners to transfer or sell a property tax-free – if that property was their main residence – while they owned it. However, government sources believe that some people are “going beyond the spirit” of tax relief and are cashing in on the rising housing market with detrimental, knock-on effects, for genuine family home buyers.

‘It is a very complicated tax system, riddled with loopholes, and urgently in need of reform.

‘Government funding has €3.4bn available for Budget 2019, but €2.6bn on this has already been pre-committed. This includes €1.5bn set aside for capital development, primarily in the areas of housing and transport. Another €400m is earmarked for public sector increases. In total, Minister Donoghue will have €800m for new spending measures and tax cuts.’

Cllr. Noel Collins appealed to the Minister to take his proposal on board in Budget 20119. Cllr. John Paul O’Shea (F.G.) seconded the proposal and spoke in support. The motion was unanimously agreed.

Cllr. Collins concluded, ‘I wish to thank the council members for their support and, let’s hope, we’ll be singing the Alleluia Chorus with a favourable response.’