Post the Deadline: Your Household Tax Questions Answered
Here we include the original, fuller FAQ:
The average house can expect to pay about €800 per year – plus another €500 in water taxes from 2014. The 2009 Commission on Taxation suggested that houses valued between €150,000 and €300,000 should be levied with a property tax of €563. John Fitzgerald of the Economic and Social Research Institute (the government’s semi-official economic think-tank) has said that the new taxes should be as high as €1300 per annum on the average household. There’s not much ‘fair’ about that when we’ve already been hit with pay cuts, job losses, Universal Social Charge, VAT increases etc.
A lot of nonsense has been written about the ‘progressive’ nature of such a property tax and the need to ‘expand the tax base’. Stephen Collins in the Irish Times claimed that “extra taxes should not be imposed on work but on fixed assets like property”. But as ordinary workers, we only have one source of income – that which we get from our work. So if we have to pay a property tax we have to pay it out of the wages we earn. Unlike the wealthy sections of society we don’t have alternative sources of income such as dividends, rent etc
What is proposed is not a property tax in the real sense – one which would be levied on the wealth and assets held by the wealthiest sections of society. A real property tax would be geared at making sure that those who own real wealth would be forced to pay more taxes. Instead what is proposed is simply a home tax which if allowed to be implemented will force those of us on low and middle incomes to pay more while continuing to let the wealthy off scot free.
The government intend to use the household tax registration process to build up the database they need to introduce the property tax and the water tax. If we register we will be making it easier for them to introduce these higher taxes.
This is where the importance of building a mass campaign comes in. The government wants 1.8 million households to register by the end of March. But imagine the situation if a million plus households do not register. It would be absolutely impossible for them to take a million people to court.
And just as we did during the campaign against water charges in Dublin in the 1990s, the campaign will organise legal representation for anyone who is taken to court. By challenging each case, we can ensure that the system becomes completely clogged up. As also happened during the campaign against water charges, if someone in an area is taken to court we can organise to ensure that hundreds of fellow non-payers turn up to support them.
Why not wait until St Patrick’s Day (two weeks before the registration deadline) and see how the Campaign goes. At that time you will hopefully see that we have enough non-payers to defeat the Government and to stop them from robbing you and your household.
In the meantime it’s important that as well as not registering yourself you do all that you can to convince your friends, neighbours, family members, workmates etc not to register either. Everybody has a part to play in convincing others to resist this tax. Don’t just leave it to others but get involved and do your own bit.
It still remains the case that anyone who refused to pay for bin charges during the bin charges campaign will pay significantly less than those that chose to pay from the beginning. We know from past experience that only mass non payment and industrial action by workers who lost their jobs through the privatisation of waste collection could have forced the government to back down.
We can however beat the Household Tax if we all join together in a mass non-payment campaign, build membership of the campaign through the €5 membership fee and get onto the streets in large numbers. Over the coming months we will build the campaign across the country. Already there have been meetings of hundreds and we are well on the way to constructing a solid nationwide campaign. These charges can be defeated by mass popular resistance. In 1990, huge numbers protested against the ‘poll tax’ in Britain and Maggie Thatcher was driven out of office. Resistance worked.
In the 1990s, the Irish government was forced to withdraw water charges from domestic users because of a boycott campaign. Resistance worked again.
The objective is to build local campaigns in every area which will be run by the members and which will then send delegates to the Dublin and national steering committees. The strength of the campaign will be the involvement of ordinary people so please do get involved and help to get our communities organised.
First don’t register.Help Out
Put a ‘We’re Not Paying’ poster in your window and a car sticker on your car. If people see posters and stickers up around the place, it helps create awareness of the campaign, encourages others not to pay and gives confidence to those who may feel intimidated into paying.
Take some Campaign newsletters, posters and car stickers to give to your neighbours, friends, workmates, family members etc. Do your bit to convince others to be part of the campaign.
Help out with your local campaign group when we go out to canvass your area. Attend your local activists’ meetings to help plan the campaign locally.
If there hasn’t been a local meeting in your area, help to organise one. The campaign can provide people to help with this and provide speakers etc if necessary. Advertise it well with posters in local shops and door to door leafleting.
Put a resolution to your residents’ association or trade union meeting to support the campaign of non-payment and organise together.
Become a member of the Campaign – the €5 membership fee will go towards producing Campaign materials such as newsletters, posters, car stickers etc and also to build up a legal defence fund.
Central government funding for local councils has been cut. The local Council is being further starved of funds and instead the money that used to pay for services such as lighting, housing, cleansing etc. is going to bail out private bank speculation.
For three years now Fianna Fail, The Green Party, Fine Gael and Labour have been making us foot the bill for the crimes of bankers and speculators. This is a great opportunity to strike back and start the job of reversing the tide. This is our chance to take a stand and show our opposition to austerity policies. Let’s make sure we use it!
If you do not resist this charge now then you will be paying up to thousands every year. The government can increase this charge anytime they like. We must defeat this now at registration stage or you will soon be paying huge volumes of extra tax for absolutely nothing new in return.
There are vast amounts of wealth in this country, the top 1% have over €100 billion tucked away. 33,000 millionaires own wealth of €121 billion, the 300 richest people are reported to be worth close to €50 billion.
A new wealth or asset tax on those that can afford to pay would generate far more money than this new household tax, this is money that otherwise would not be used in our society. We could employ thousands on the dole overnight if the political will was there. This is the type of property/wealth tax we should strive to introduce. If you pay, it will be €100 now and thousands later. Resist now or pay later!