HOME owners who have not paid the controversial household charge could end up paying double under plans announced in the Budget.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the Revenue Commissioners will be collecting unpaid household charges when the new Local Property Tax comes into being next July.
In a blunt warning to non-payers, Mr Noonan said outstanding €100 household charges will be doubled to €200 if they are not paid before that date.
Almost a third of households – more than 511,000 nationwide – have yet to pay the charge which was introduced in last year's Budget.
Latest figures show varying compliance rates across the country, with payment ranging from 85pc in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown local authority area to 55pc in Donegal.
Mr Noonan said the Revenue Commissioners would assume responsibility for collecting the unpaid charges – currently the job of local authorities – after the tax comes into effect.
He said: "I view tax compliance as a core principle of our democracy.
"Public services can only be provided to citizens because people pay their taxes. I want to reassure the vast majority of tax-compliant citizens that the Revenue Commissioners will strictly enforce the Local Property Tax and they will collect any unpaid household charge for 2012.
"Any arrears that are not discharged before July 1, 2013 will be increased to €200 and will be collected through the Local Property Tax system."