Wednesday 21 April 2021

MPs begin marathon debate on taxing home owners with no mortgage

MPs will on Tuesday take part in a marathon debate on the new government’s plans to bring back a tax for home owners who have paid off their mortgages.

In total, opposition MPs have requested more than 36 hours of debating time about the move to scrap a law which was brought in in 2005. Named after MP Hans Hillen who introduced the plan, the law exempted home owners from paying a tax known as the eigenwoningforfait over the value of their property.

The eigenwoningforfait is currently paid by home owners with a mortgage and is based on the value of their property. It is seen as compensation for the tax break on mortgages which home buyers enjoy.

However, its original aim was to tax the supposed benefits which home owners gain from owning their own house and not having to pay rent.

Thirty years

The new government now plans to phase out the Hillen law over 30 years from 2019, reintroducing the tax on home ownership for everyone. The government says this will raise €1bn for the treasury over 30 years.

In order to make it to the statute books in time for the 2019 start, the plan must be approved by both houses of parliament before the end of this year.

Opponents of the plan, including MPs from 50Plus and the populist PVV, aim to talk out the bill. The two parties have requested 900 and 1,200 minutes of debating time respectively – a tactic known in the US and Britain as a filibuster.

50Plus argues it is wrong to present people who have worked hard to pay off their mortgages with a bill, and describe the plan as bringing in a fine for being mortgage free.

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