Property tax from our cities still props up rest of country

Figures reveal 20pc of funds raised in capital will build rural roads and houses

Cork and Dublin homeowners will contribute over €244m

Philip Ryan

A fifth of all property tax paid by Dublin and Cork homeowners will be used to prop up cash-strapped rural local authorities next year.

Unpublished Department of Housing figures show more than €40m of the €202m property tax expected to be raised in Dublin next year will be used to build houses and roads in other counties. Meanwhile, €10m of the €52m raised from Cork property owners will also be handed over to a centralised Government fund and dispersed to rural local authorities struggling to balance their budgets.

Cork and Dublin homeowners will account for more than half of the €488m collected next year, according to the Department's local property tax allocation figures.

The new data also shows homeowners in both counties on average pay far higher rates of property tax compared with those living in other parts of the country.

Under property tax rules, 20pc of property tax revenue raised in the country's two main cities is sent to a central fund operated by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The allocation figures show local authorities in Tipperary (€16m), Donegal (€16m), Mayo (€11m), Waterford (€11m) and Monaghan (€8m) will be the biggest benefactors of property tax raised in other counties.

Roscommon and Laois county councils are expected to receive an extra €7m from the centralised fund, while Westmeath will be paid an additional €6m.

Local authorities in Kildare (€4.3m) Meath (€3.5m), Wicklow (€3.4m) Clare (€2m) and Galway City (€1.6m) are among those which will hand over property tax revenue to fund poorer councils.

The new figures will reignite the debate surrounding the Government's controversial property tax equalisation fund.

Dublin city councillors recently voted in favour of retaining all property tax revenue collected from homeowners living in the capital.

The Department of Housing said councillors are prevented from keeping all property tax income as the equalisation fund is set out in legislation.

The Government has pledged to reform how the tax is spent by local authorities.

However, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe recently announced he was delaying any decision until November next year.

The Department of Housing figures also show that next year, some Dublin property owners will be paying more than treble the rate of property tax of those who own houses in other parts of the country.

The average property tax paid in Dublin next year will be €540 a year, and this increases to a massive €620 for homeowners living in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area.

In Dublin city, the average property tax will be €350, in South Dublin it will be €323 and in Dublin Fingal it will be €369.

This compares with Longford homeowners, who will on average pay just €124 a year.

The average in Donegal will be €152, Leitrim €132, Cavan €145 and Carlow €174.

The averages were calculated using the Revenue Commissioner's most recent figures for the number of homeowners who are due to pay property tax this year.

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