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    Emigrants subject to taxation on Irish homes

    By Noreen Bowden | February 11, 2010

    Irish emigrants who keep a home in Ireland are subject to the taxation on non-principal homes. The tax of €200 is levied on most houses that are not occupied by their owners, although there are a number of exemptions. The charge does apply to overseas owners.

    The fact that emigrants must pay the tax was raised in the Dail today by Frank Feighan, Fine Gael’s TD from Roscommon South-Leitrim. In a debate over the Finance Bill, he said,

    I agree the non-principal residence tax is a good idea for raising moneys for local authorities. However, having visited the Roscommon Associations in Manchester, Birmingham and London, I know many emigrants feel let down that the little house they have back in Ireland, some without even electricity or running water, will be charged this tax. They want to be good citizens but the local authorities are insisting they pay the €200 tax. That is an insult to the Irish diaspora which actually helped rebuild this country by sending money back from abroad.

    The Government must apologise to those emigrants in the United States and the United Kingdom who have tried to keep a link with this country by keeping a small house, sometimes just a pile of stones, for not considering them when introducing this tax. It must be amended because the local authorities have not considered all factors involved.

    This, clearly, is a case of taxation without representation. Is it right to levy taxes on citizens who are entitled to no representation in this State? Two centuries of post-Enlightenment thinking would say no. Is this democratic?

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