22 Jul 2012

Household Charges: To Pay or not to Pay?

Household Charges: To Pay or not to Pay? The recent fundraising measures undertaken by the government are taxing (in both senses of the word) to those already feeling the pinch from the fine gael-labour coalition. The Irish taxpayer is now exposed to some of the highest rates in Europe, yet the citizens of our country do not receive the same benefits that our Scandinavian or Alpine neighbours enjoy from such high taxation. This problem has manifested itself with the government scrambling feverishly, looking to the people to repay money that is currently on loan from the Troika, but the most recent development appears to have tipped the taxpayer over the edge.

It is evident that the Republic of Ireland was the only country in Western Europe that did not impose a household charge upon the taxpayer. In France, for example, the householder pays flat rates and receives services such as water, access to electricity and public services such as the fire brigade within this charge. Back home, however, one forgets that the Irish counterpart is subjected to stamp duty, is expected to pay water charges, is obliged to pay waste charges (given that France, and most of Europe, participate in a communal waste framework with minimal cost) and electricity charges along with a household charge. The most bewildering element of this aggressive form of taxation is probably that there is no reason for this charge. The reality is that the occupiers of this home will see no benefit, ever, for having paid these fees

In the past, general property ownership taxes were regulated county-by-county. Ignorance, or the general ignoring of the fee ruled, as it does today with the vast majority of the population refusing to pay the charge. The disservice that the government dealt throughout this era was that charges fluctuated by up to 90% as one passed from county to county. Today, however, a sort (although ironic) of equality reigns; every home-owner will pay €100 per dwelling owned by the taxpayer. Absurdly, it is incomprehensible that the department of finance have declined to increase revenue by taxing the number chairs, tables, sinks or even cushions in the householder’s possession, and calibrating the charge accordingly. It should also be noted that the department have neglected, or humorously forgotten to include VAT on the household charge, as the completely unnecessary 23% would slip nicely into the back pocket of stately coffers.

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