Ireland alone in opting for self-assessed value system
IRELAND is the only country to opt for a property tax based on self-assessment, it has emerged.
Local authorities in most countries carry out valuations themselves to assess how much homeowners have to pay in property tax.
Revenue economist Keith Walsh admitted that Ireland was unusual in having a self-assessed property tax.
He explained that there was no property data on house types, sizes and numbers of bedrooms and the tax authorities had been given a tight deadline to put the new tax in place.
Letters from Revenue and the valuation tool on its website should only be used as a guide by homeowners trying to work out how much tax they have to pay, he said.
Property economist Ronan Lyons said it was the responsibility of local authorities in most countries in the EU to value houses.
In Britain and Northern Ireland, a value is given to each home and sent to homeowners, he said.
In the US, most states have valuation offices which produce property values. Homeowners are able to challenge these values, but must come up with valid reasons why they think they are wrong.
On the continent there was a publicly held register of the values of properties in each area, which was used for calculating property tax amounts.
Mr Lyons said these databases used in other countries tend to be largely correct.
He said survey of every property in Ireland would be required to produce accurate valuations.
One way this could have been done would be to require every home to have a building energy rating (BER) as this would indicate the square footage, number of bedrooms and overall size of a property.
"A BER would give you every piece of information about a house except its value," Mr Lyons said.
He called on Revenue to spend the next three years putting property valuations on every home. Any values for homes submitted to Revenue this year will stand until 2016.