Wednesday 18 October 2017

How to assess your home's worth – and what happens if you refuse to pay

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Q: Tell me, does Revenue decide the value or do I?

A: This one is confusing everyone. Revenue will send out letters from next week with a rough estimate of what it thinks your house is worth.

The tax officials have trawled a number of databases and got some valuations themselves, but they cannot be certain of what your property is worth.

Revenue boss Josephine Feehily was at pains to say that householders should take this rough estimate and work out if it was right or wrong. She insisted the new charge is a self-assessed tax. But if you fail to come back to Revenue with your own assessment, then its estimate will be what you owe.

Q: How do I assess the value of the home?

A: You can work out the market value of your home by looking at prices in your area for similar properties for sale in estate agencies, or in newspaper ads.

You can check the State's Property Price Register, and the likes of Daft.ie and MyHome.ie.

You could get a professional valuation, but you must pay for that.

From Sunday, homeowners can log on to the Revenue.ie website and use a new tool to help them value their home. You enter information as to where the property is located, whether it is detached or terraced, and when it was built. This data is broken down into 3,400 electoral areas.

A map will come up on the website and you click on the area where your house is located. A figure will come up, showing which valuation band of the 20 your home comes into for the new tax.

Suppose your house is in a poor state of repair, or is larger than any other in the area, you will have to factor this in yourself in your assessment of its value.

If you return this value to Revenue, it is good for three years.

Revenue is relying on people to be honest and is not too bothered if the valuations are correct down to the last €10,000, as long as people are not trying to cheat.

Q: What else do I need to fill out?

A: In the notices going out to 1.66 million homeowners from Monday, there will be a two-page letter explaining broad details of the tax, and a two-page property tax return form.

This return asks you to confirm you are the homeowner, gives an identification number for the property, and you need to indicate your assessment of the property's worth, and calculate what tax is owed.

You also indicate how you are going to pay.

Q: What if I don't open the letter?

A: Big mistake. Revenue has such extensive powers that all it is short of being able to do is take your first-born.

Tax officials can fine you, get a warrant to enter your property, impose interest charges and deny you a tax refund. They can only take the money from your salary, your pension or social welfare if you do not co-operate.

Just failing to fill out the two-page property tax return could see you being fined up to €3,000.

The self-employed can also be surcharged, denied a tax clearance cert and audited.

Q: How can I pay?

A: You can pay electronically by using the Revenue website, use your debit or credit card, pay at the post office, send a cheque or pay in a shop. You can also pay by direct debit, either in installments or in a lump sum, or have your employer deduct the money weekly or monthly.

The property tax return has to be completed and sent back by May 7 if you are making a postal return, and May 27 for electronic filing. Payment is due in July.

Irish Independent

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