Donegal County Council is being urged to stop collecting Local Property Tax and commercial rates from Mica property owners and to refund all monies back to victims.
The motion was raised at today’s county council meeting by Cllr Frank McBrearty, who claimed that owners have been ‘misled’ by government promises.
The government announced in July that homes damaged by mica will be exempt from the Local Property Tax (LPT) for a period of six years. However, they must meet the criteria to qualify for the relief.
Cllr McBrearty said: “That exemption does not kick in until next year. You have to have an engineers report. You have to have gone through the process of the application and you have to have started the work.
“People have forgotten that this is not just about homeowners anymore, this is about property owners, holiday home owners, the rental section, commercial properties and the many council properties. They are not being taken into consideration here.”
Cllr McBrearty said LPT should not be taken from homeowners and that commercial rates should not be taken from property and business owners. He called for LPT to be refunded back to the establishment of the tax and for all commercial rates to be re-funded to property owners from the date of completion of their properties when they became commercially rateable.
Cllr McBrearty said the upcoming exemption was not accessible to all: “Many victims can’t afford the engineers report, will never be able to get that exemption because they cant afford to put together 6/7/8000 euro for a borehole contractor and an engineer to allow them to get an exemption. God knows where people will be next year.”
The executive responded to say that there is no provision within existing LPT legislation to refund LPT charges on the basis that a property is affected by mica.
Earlier today, councillors voted to retain the LPT in Donegal at an increased rate of +15%.