According to the RED C polling organisation 29% of households will not register with the Revenue Commissioners for the property tax.
The Revenue themselves say that they are targeting 80% compliance this year, implying that they expect at least 20% to refuse to sign up.
At mid-April 48% of householders owning one property only had still not registered for the household charge.
The government clearly planned to reduce that figure by making 30 April the deadline for paying the household charge at a rate of €130. After that, new penalties kick in in May and June before the charge rises to €200, is rolled over into the property tax and becomes deductible from 1 July.
However, it is increasingly likely that the property tax will be boycotted by a significant minority despite all the threats being made from on high.
The RED C figure of 29% would be the equivalent of nearly half a million households.
This would pose the government with a major dilemma. Will they make good on their threat to introduce legislation cutting the pay of public sector workers by 7% if they fail to renegotiate Croke Park? And can they then give the green light to Revenue to deduct property tax from the pay and social welfare of hundreds of thousands a few weeks further along the line?
The answer to that question is clearly YES if we just take into account the cold cruelty of the government and their slavish support for the demands of the Troika.
However, there are other factors that have to be weighed not least the weakness of the government and especially its Labour component.
Labour was hammered out of sight in the Meath East bye-election. It is down to 7% in some polls. It has been weakened by defections. And it faces wipeout in next years Local and European elections.
Political survival makes pay cuts and deductions of property tax a real problem for Labour. This will be doubly the case if pressure on them is increased. How can this be done?
We need the largest possible boycott. Yes, there are potential penalties (Revenue have the power to double the tax for those who don’t register). But the bigger the boycott the less chance they will dare go down this road. And the biggest penalty of all is 1000+ euro home taxes which will surely come if they force the property tax through without a real fight.
We need to link the fight against the property tax to the fight against austerity as represented by Croke Park. Given the failure of the union leaders to organise a national strike against austerity the leaders of the Croke Park NO unions must organise a national indoor rally for those who want to fight austerity including the property tax and launch plans for a massive national demonstration from that.
The Campaign Against Home and Water Charges should increase the pressure on Labour by announcing plans to take their seats next year by standing hundreds of anti-home charges and anti-austerity candidates against them throughout the state.
These weapons – boycott, mass protest including industrial action and a political initiative – can force the government back on their savage plans to deduct the property tax at source.