One-in-five Kildare businesses to fight rate hikes

Over 900 Kildare companies take a stand

by H Bauress/N O'Donoghue

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by H Bauress/N O'Donoghue

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One-in-five Kildare businesses to fight rate hikes

Marcella O'Reilly

Over 900 Kildare businesses are now playing the waiting game to see if their appeals against rocketing commercial rates will be successful.

It is understood there won’t be any decisions made until early next September.

Almost a fifth of Kildare ratepayers appealed recent rates demands issued by the Valuations Office, with many facing up to 300% increases in the amount they must pay.

Marcella O’Reilly of Buy Design in Crookstown is part of a committee set up to campaign against the high rates.

She believes the appeals process may come too late for some businesses.

“I know of two businesses who are closing down,” she claimed.

“A lot of businesses only have a marginal profit and they are working very hard to keep going.

“When you have rates going from €600 to €3,800, they just can’t survive.”

READ MORE: Passions high at anti-rates hike meeting in Kildare

In a statement to the Leader recently, the Valuation Office said 19% of the 4,848 Kildare commercial ratepayers who received new valuations on April 10, had made representations to it by the April 18 deadline.

The Valuation Office previously said that some 60% of businesses received rate decreases.

There were 929 representions — one of the highest proportions in the country after Roscommon (22%) and Westmeath (20%).

The figure was lower for Offaly where 319, or 13% of its rate payers made representations.

Also lower than Kildare were Leitrim (16%), and Longford and Sligo (both 15%).

The Valuation Office said these representations will be considered and a new valuation will be issued in early September.

At that stage, anyone unhappy can appeal to an independent valuation tribunal.

However, Ms O’Reilly pointed out that such an appeal could bring significant costs with businesses forced to hire experts.

She also hit out at reduced rates for multi-national companies.

“They pay less and we have to make up the difference. It’s just wrong. It’s grossly unfair,” she said. She said the group would continue to lobby the government to change the legislation for a more equitable and fair system.