September 15, 2022
Now, why would you do that? No one around here pays property taxes.
Neighbor Mick was up for coffee and this was his comment when I told him I had spent an hour on the phone with the Irish revenue people getting the taxes sorted for the cottage. My reaching out to pay taxes was clearly taxing Mick’s sensibilities. Dennis suggested it was perhaps an issue of more money than sense and Mick agreed. However since our annual revenue bill is €90, or $89.92 with today’s exchange rate, it’s hardly an issue of money.
When we bought the cottage it was listed as uninhabitable and thus no taxes were owed. Our solicitor counseled me to keep the property taxes current and I had been waiting to receive a bill from the revenue department. When nothing arrived I came to realize that it was up to me to change that designation on the tax roles. Which is what I did yesterday. Apparently I could have gone indefinitely with that uninhabitable designation because the revenue folks don’t seem to check. And it was left entirely up to me to determine the value of the cottage. Ah, the people would be up in arms if we were to do that, the revenue man told me.
But what really caught my attention was the question about whether the house is currently occupied. Why would they care? It seems the answer to that question is rooted in a cultural heritage of being in right relationship in community, of taking care of community. Among the many things the revenue folks seem casually concerned about, there is a great concern for determining if there are vacant houses that could ease Ireland’s housing shortage. It’s a shortage that has been exacerbated by the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees and the government is scouring every available resource for the unhoused.
I can’t imagine this happening in the States, whether letting houses slide around the tax roles indefinitely, or allowing the owners to set the tax value, or being concerned about providing homes for the unhoused. Ireland. A completely different taxing sensibility.