DUBLIN: A tax refund system introduced last year to aid first-time buyers has been described as a failure after it emerged just a tiny fraction have benefited from the measure.
Just 74 first-time buyers have availed of the deposit interest retention tax (Dirt) refund which Finance Minister Michael Noonan claimed would benefit as many as 9,500 buyers get on the property ladder. The scheme allows those saving for their first home to hold onto the tax charged on interest earned, which would otherwise go to the State.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the relief scheme was a failure after Mr Noonan made the figures public. “It is now clear that the scheme to provide relief from Dirt for first-time buyers has been a major disappointment. In fact, the outcome is an insult to the thousands of people who are struggling to buy their first home. The scheme has not even managed to live up to its very modest expectations as previous parliamentary replies indicate that upwards of 10,000 were expected to benefit,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr McGrath said access to the housing market was becoming increasingly unattainable for first-time buyers due to a combination of factors, including the extraordinarily low uptake of the Dirt relief which has failed to appeal to homeowners.