And so we have a fully formed, if imperfect, property tax. Although many years in the making, and with many issues still to be clarified, it is still a progressive step in terms of taxation in this country. The prospect of the rate of the tax being varied by the local authorities from 2016 onwards will be of some concern to those who feel that those very same authorities have a ravenous appetite for raising revenue. However, the link between the taxation of property and the provision of services is welcome in a civic society often criticised for a post-colonial disconnect between citizens, their taxation and the services they receive.
Elsewhere in the Budget, the proposal (but not yet legislation) to provide for the introduction of real estate investment trusts (REITs) is welcome. Peter Stafford provides an outline of the main points of the Budget as it affects construction, land and property, and there is much else to recommend in this edition.
The Society staged an excellent Annual Conference, which heard from Government in the form of Minister of State, Brian Hayes, and John Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance. It heard from private industry too – from Australia, the UK and the USA in the form of Patrick Tuttle, Robert Fowlds and Joshua Kahr. If you weren’t there, I strongly recommend the report in this edition. It is timely to learn from abroad. We are undergoing significant and, in some cases, enormously difficult change. It behoves our Government and, where possible, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, to make that change as progressive as possible.