Dáil Éireann - Volume 327 - 24 February, 1981

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Stamp Duty on Houses.

22. Mr. Kelly asked the Minister for Finance whether, having regard to the grant increase in the price of houses, he will review the percentage rates of stamp duty applicable to different purchase price levels.

Mr. Calleary: Stamp duties, like all other taxes, are reviewed every year in the context of the budget. The position at present is that in the case of the vast [31] majority of new houses either a complete exemption from duty is granted on the transfer or a liability to the duty arises only on the value of the site. In the case of most other houses, the duty is chargeable at the general rates applicable to the conveyance or transfer of all property apart from stock or marketable securities, and thus if any relief were granted it might have to be extended to such other property. This relief could be costly, which would mean a higher tax burden in other taxation areas.

Mr. Kelly: Is it not the case that most new house sales in consequence of the prohibition on the creation of new ground rents are effected in the Land Registry, to which stamp duty does not apply but a Land Registry fee applies? Therefore, new houses do not come into the picture at all. Will the Minister not admit that with the increase in the price of houses the average family-sized house has been reaching upwards into brackets that attract a progressively heavier rate of stamp duty? Will the Minister not consider adjusting that to ensure that an average family-sized house will attract roughly the same amount of stamp duty in real terms as was the case five years ago before the Fianna Fáil inflation in house values took place? That rate has more than doubled since the change of government.

Mr. Calleary: That is a matter for review at budget time. I will pass on the Deputy's comments and I am sure they will be given the consideration they deserve.