Laois homeowners to pay same level of Local Property Tax next year
The rate of Local Property Tax paid by Laois homeowners will stay the same next year.
The tax charged on 29,000 Laois homes for 2020 will not go up, councillors have decided at a special meeting on September 6.
Homeowners in the county will again pay about €5 million over the year, from €99 for the cheapest category to €643 for the county's most expensive homes.
Local Property Tax was introduced nationwide in 2013. Laois homeowners then had to start paying about €4.5 million a year towards Laois County Council's annual budget to run the county and maintain services.
Local authorities have the choice to vary the rate by up to 15% up or down and in 2017 councillors voted to raise it here in by 10%. That brings in an extra half a million annually to the council's annual budget, to a total of €5 million.
The councillors followed the recommendation of Laois County Council CEO John Mulholland to keep the rate the same for 2020.
Many homeowners and landlords have never paid the tax. Anyone who built a home since 2013 when the unpopular tax was introduced, is still exempt. That exemption will be lost in 2021 after a nationwide property valuation in November 2020.
Meanwhile nearly 600 Laois homes were devalued by their owners in the past two years, thus avoiding a higher rate of Local Property Tax.
More than 600 homes were added to the two cheapest value categories, with almost 25,000 Laois homes now claimed to be worth less than €150,000.
The tax is self assessed by owners and owners can revalue their houses up or down. However they must prove a claim that it has devalued, such as an auctioneer's valuation.
Almost 28,000 of the 29,000 Laois houses liable, are worth less than €200,000 according to their owners. The figures where given at the LPT meeting in county hall.
The total Local Property Tax income to Laois for 2020 will actually be just above €9 million. That includes €4.5 million given to the county from the Equalisation Fund, a share of the taxes collected in high population local authorities.
What you will pay in 2020 in Laois in your Local Property Tax:
House value: €100k or less: €99 LPT rate. This applies to 12,441 properties in Laois.
House value: €100k to €150k: €247.50 LPT rate. Applies to 12,296 properties.
House value: €150 to €200k: €346.50. Applies to 3,016 properties.
House value: €200k to €250k: €445.50. Applies to 725 properties.
House value: €250k to €300k: €544.50. Applies to 261 properties.
House value: €300k upwards: €643.50. Applies to 261 properties.
The tax is not charged on renters, only owners. Laois County Council is the county's biggest landlord, with over 2,150 council homes. It paid €213,242 in property tax last year.
Laois County Council CEO John Mulholland said that the extra half million is needed for costs.
In 2020, €188,000 of it will be spent on public realm improvements to five towns; €80,000 for Portlaoise, and €27,000 each for Portarlington, Durrow, Mountrath and Rathdowney.
There will be €53,000 put towards forward planning, €39,000 to roads, €30,000 on homeless services, €34,000 on the fire service and €30,000 on river drainage.
Councillors get €23,000 each for Discretionary Budgets to spend in their areas on items like as community projects, paths, traffic calming and lighting.
Cllr John King proposed that the rate stay the same for 2020.
“I'd like to see a house in Portlaoise for the homeless,” he noted.
The proposal was seconded by Cllr John Joe Fennelly. He wants more funding put to maintain council houses.
The council's entire estimated budget for 2020 will be €75.6 million, up from €72 million this year.
As well as €9 million from Local Property Tax, €13.4 million is expected from commercial rates, the same as 2019. The rest comes from grants, subsidies, and unspecified income. The council will spend €27.5 million of it on paying staff.