Sunday Business Post - IPAV calls for changes to inheritance tax legislation

Sunday Business Post 

Ipav calls for changes to inheritance tax legislation

03:55, 21 June 2015 by Donal Buckley

A new tax incentive scheme to encourage house hunters to live in rural towns and villages and changes to the inheritance tax to allow people to live in the houses they inherit, were among the reforms called for by Eamon O’Flaherty, incoming president of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (Ipav) when speaking at the organisation’s annual conference yesterday.

O’Flaherty urged radical government intervention in order to breathe new life into decimated towns and villages.

He also said tax incentives would help owner occupiers to convert non-viable commercial buildings into residential use.

While welcoming the Living City urban renewal initiative, he said it needed to be extended beyond the historic centres of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Kilkenny.

“We need a nationwide scheme especially open to all our rural towns. Otherwise such towns will continue to languish and disintegrate before our eyes,” he said.

A director of Property Partners Brady in Maynooth, O’Flaherty said: “The process of putting the lights back on in the centre of towns and villages would reverberate out into local communities. The first to see the lift would be local tradesmen and women, next would be retailers and then schools.”

The organisation awaits the government initiative, in conjunction with the European Commission, which has promised an €80 million fund for urban renewal projects currently being finalised by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government.

He called on each county council to set annual targets to get the project up and running in their areas.

Ipav supports a vacant site levy in larger cities as an incentive to get inner city construction moving. “We welcome the fact that the government has now taken up this idea in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015,” O’Flaherty said.

Cautioning against piecemeal initiatives, he reiterated the institute’s call for a national property council which government would use as a consultative process to

aid long-term planning.

He also criticised the inheritance tax limits which are forcing people to sell family homes which they inherit. “Many ordinary people are now finding that they are being hit with large tax bills after inheriting a home from a parent.

The tax rate for inheritance sky-rocketed during the recession and the threshold for tax-free inheritance has been halved.

Capital Acquisitions Tax is now imposed at 33 per cent on amounts over €225,000 for a son or daughter.

“I call on the minister for finance to address this imbalance in Budget 2016,” said O’Flaherty. “It is simply not fair for a person who inherits a property from a parent to have to sell it to pay the penal tax.”