When I studied public finance in the late 1980s, stamp duties were presented as historical oddities: Simple to collect but so distortionary that they had long been abolished in the civilised world.
The Commission on Taxation recommends that stamp duties be abolished and replaced by a property tax. Impeccable.
In fact, the CoT recommends that the stamp duty on non-owner-occupied residential property be maintained. This creates unnecessary friction between the rental market and own homes.
The CoT also recommends that rezoned land be subject to capital gains tax. This is smart, treating land like any other capital, thus improving capital allocation. It would further depress the land market, though.
Returning to the property tax, the CoT recommends that house values be self-assessed. This creates a problem with asymmetry of information. In fact, the CoT immediately adds that the Revenue Commissioners would not have a clue about the value of houses. This part of the proposal would create the new national sport of property tax dodging.
It seems, though, that the political leadership is not too keen on the property tax. I would suggest that it’d be introduced in 2011 and that 2010 is used to build up a database for “objective” valuation of residential property. In other countries, the “taxable” value of a house is typically far below the market value (so that no one can challenge the tax person) while the tax rate is fairly high (so that revenue is not affected). Building up the data can be done in a year, and would actually employ a few recent graduates.