Revenue gives extra day to pay property tax
HOMEOWNERS who failed to stump up their property tax have been granted a last-minute reprieve before they are hit with tough penalties.
The Revenue Commissioners have extended the deadline for payment of the unpopular tax after receiving 20,000 phone inquiries throughout yesterday.
But officials have warned that there will be no let-off for those who fail to meet the new deadline, which is 5pm tomorrow.
A series of tough penalties, including fines and the issuing of court proceedings, are among the options that will be at Revenue's disposal.
The state body may also move to deduct sums from the wages and occupational pensions of those who fail to cough up the tax.
Senior Revenue officials took the decision to extend the deadline after receiving more than 2,000 calls per hour yesterday.
The deadline had initially been set for midnight on Tuesday, however, the huge volume of calls prompted the decision to grant homeowners a reprieve until Wednesday evening.
The main Revenue office in Dublin was also closed for more than two hours after a small number of demonstrators occupied the building, which is located just off O'Connell Street.
Gardai were immediately called, but no arrests were made. A Revenue spokeswoman said she believed the protest coincided with what the protesters believed was the deadline for the payment of the tax.
"It was a major inconvenience for our customers as it is our main revenue office in Dublin," she said.
According to Revenue, the compliance rate for the property tax last year has now reached 93pc, while 88pc of customers have settled their 2014 bills.
The new deadline also applies to the payment of the household charge, which is still owed by more than 350,000 homeowners.
According to a Revenue spokeswoman, the majority of calls received yesterday related to the household charge.
"Property owners seem now to be acting on the fact that the household charge, which was initially €100 and increased to €200 last July, will only increase further to €213 by the end of April if it is ignored," Revenue said in a statement.
"Given the significant number of property owners who have not complied with the 2012 household charge and the volume of calls received this morning, the Revenue Commissioners have decided to extend the deadline until close of business Wednesday evening."
The deadline sparked a flurry of payments since late last week as homeowners realised that they were on the verge of being hit with penalties.
A revenue spokeswoman told the Irish Independent that 9,000 property tax and household charge returns were made over the weekend, which equated to €8.5m.
Anyone who fails to pay faces the prospect of having the sum deducted from their wages or occupational pensions. Anyone who wishes to pay ahead of tomorrow's deadline can do so by phoning the Revenue helpline on 1890 200255 or through www.revenue.ie
A range of payment methods are available, including direct debit, credit card and deduction at source from salary.