AS the Local Property Tax (LPT) bills began dropping through Donegal letter boxes this week, angry householders in unfinished estates are asking why they should have to pay.
Many of those living in homes in the 90 estates which are no longer entitled to a waiver are puzzled as to what has led to this change. They claim they do not see any improvement in the condition of their estate yet they are not entitled to a waiver from the LPT even though they had one from the Household Charge.
A resident of Cruach na Cille in Letterkenny who received their LPT demand this week was shocked that the status of the estate had changed.
Residents of the centrally located estate were exempt from paying the household charge because the estate was not completed.
“Nothing has been done to improve this estate that should have seen its status change as regards getting a waiver from the LPT. The lights don’t work, there are half built buildings not totally secured, open manholes – it is basically a building site with dangerous debris lying around. Bits of timber and steel.
“Now they want me to pay a property tax – for what. We already pay for our bins. We paid huge stamp duty. In order to dispute the Revenue’s unrealistic valuation of the house, am I now going to have to pay an estate agent as well?” the resident asked.
Council tenants LPT
Sinn Féin Donegal Councillor Marie Therese Gallagher has been inundated with calls from county council tenants who have received LPT letters causing huge confusion and worry.
Cllr Gallagher said the letters were causing huge confusion and worry especially to families already struggling on low incomes.
“Revenue could have avoided this by using the lists of their rented dwellings held by the local authorities. I would call on council management to reassure their tenants, although this is purely a revenue blunder, I believe it is important that tenants have reassurance from management.
“It is another indication of how ill-considered this unjust family tax really is,” Cllr Gallagher added.
‘Miraculously’ completed estates
Deputy Charlie McConalogue has called on the government to explain why it is forcing property taxes on homeowners in at least 62 unfinished estates across Co Donegal.
“It was only right that all of these unfinished estates in Donegal were exempt from the household charge last year. Many of the residents are young families who paid way over the odds for what is now a seriously devalued home. They are deep in negative equity, struggling to pay their mortgages and living in unfinished surroundings with no end in sight and now Fine Gael and Labour plan to hit them with new taxes on their homes.
“The government has tried to justify this by claiming that many of these unfinished estates have miraculously been completed and fixed over the past year. This will come as a surprise to the people living in them – ordinary families who were abandoned by developers and are stuck without the amenities and services they paid for. By very virtue of the fact that these estates are unfinished, the residents are victims of the property and banking collapse. They do not need to be punished more for this,” Deputy McConalogue said.
He called on Minister Hogan to say what criteria are being applied to qualify an estate as finished?
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