Councillor Collins Seeks to Close Housing Sale Tax Loophole

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Council is urging the Government to introduce new taxes aimed at discouraging property speculators from cashing in on soaring house prices.

The move comes as Cllr Noel Collins calls for widespread changes to close a loophole, which allows some home owners to continually avoid paying tax on properties.

The new proposal would cap how often an owner could avail of the tax relief on the sale of their principal residence within a certain period.

At present, home owners can apply for tax relief on the sale of their family home which exempts them from 33% Capital Gains Tax.

Cllr Collins said he feared that the relief allowing a property owner to sell or transfer a property tax free, was being taken advantage of by a minority.

“Some people are going beyond the spirit of the tax relief and cashing in on the rising housing market, with detrimental knock-on effects for genuine family home owners” he told a recent Sitting of full Council.

The Midleton based Cllr said his new budget measure would ensure that home owners were not unfairly benefiting from the housing market, while others struggle to find accommodation.

“From reports there is evidence of people being granted tax relief on family home sales on numerous occasions over a short period of time” commented the Independent Cllr.

He said Minister Donoghue could fund the new measure from an €800million surplus available in Budget 2019.

The Government has €3.4billion available for next year’s Budget, of which €2.6billion has already been pre-committed.

This includes €1.5billion set aside for capital development, largely in areas such as housing and transport.

Another €400million is earmarked for public sector pay increases, leaving €800million for spending measures and tax cuts.

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