Property tax will only work if all pay…with no exceptions.
While there is lots of media speculation on the final solution on how property tax will be collected and how much the tax will cost, there is no Government agreement on either the general or the fine details.
With four months to go to the 2013 deadline on the introduction of a property tax, this Government has not yet bothered to agree on what the level of tax will be, how it be calculated, who pays and what exemptions will apply. Were this a private business undertaking, Project Property Tax would be in serious difficulty.
Property tax at its fairest must be paid by all citizens with no exceptions!
For those of limited financial means, perhaps some element of a reduced tax amount could be facilitated. However, calls by some social concern groups for broad exemptions completely miss the point on how democracies work. Democracy costs money. The right to vote can only be guaranteed by a duty to pay tax. How could our society protect the values of democracy if more and more citizens are granted the right to opt out of paying their fair share of tax? PAYE employment is not the only means of earning income, even though it may be the easiest by which Government collects taxes.
Property tax must be paid by all citizens. This must include senior citizens, retirees, the unemployed as well as those in self-employment.
Of course, PAYE workers WILL pay, they always do.
Rather than drawing up a long and complicated list of rules and ways of implementing measures to ensure compliance, Government can create a much more simple system of payment.
- For the elderly (over 70), a reduction of 75% off standard property tax rate.
- For those receiving unemployment assistance, a limited period of reduced tax for a 12 month period at 50% of their liable amount. This should be a once-in-a-lifetime benefit.
- For self-employed, no exemptions.
- For owner occupiers in general, there should be a 25% homestead deduction whereas
- A full rate of tax would apply to rental / investment properties or where any form of rental income is earned on a property.
To ensure compliance, a property tax compliance certificate should be introduced, which would be linked to the right to vote, the right to drive as well as the right to receive socially funded payments.
Property tax must equate representation in our society. A notion that some pay while others opt-out will make for an unfair, unequal and unjust society.
This Government promised a fairer society, it must now deliver on that promise.
If it unable to put a fair and equal property tax system in place from January 1, then it must refrain from doing so until it is ready.