Property tax taken from dole payments falls short
Published 10/07/2014 | 02:30
THOUSANDS of homeowners have opted to pay their property tax by weekly deductions from social welfare payments.
But some are getting so little in social welfare that they still owed money to the Revenue at the end of last year, even though payments were made every week.
Last year 14,000 people chose to have the property tax payment taken out of their State pension or unemployment payments.
And this year the numbers choosing to have the property tax and arrears of the household charge taken from their social welfare payments has jumped to 25,000, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan revealed.
The move to have the controversial property tax deducted at source out of dole, pension and other social welfare payments is despite the fact that many of these homeowners have the option of deferring payment.
Mr Noonan revealed that many of those on social welfare who are paying the tax by having it deducted weekly from their social welfare have ended up still owing money at the end of the year.
This is because the Department of Social Protection cannot, under law, allow social welfare payments to fall below €186 a week, Mr Noonan told the TDs.
The minister said: "Shortfalls in payment on foot of the €186 threshold occurred in 1,203 of cases during 2013, of which 200 were for less than €10. Revenue contacted this tranche of property owners in April 2014 to advise on the various payment alternatives available."
For this year, Revenue has identified and contacted almost 2,000 homeowners whose deductions from their social welfare payments will not be enough to cover the full tax for this year.
Meanwhile, Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton revealed that payments of €20.2bn were made by her department last year.
Weekly social welfare payments were made to 1.4 million people. But the figure rises to 2.2 million people when children and qualified adults are included.
Pensions were paid to 556,025 people. Jobseeker's allowance went to 295,077 people last year.
There were another 75,345 people of working age getting employment supports.
The cost of child benefit was €1.89bn, with 611,159 families getting this monthly payment. The payment is made in respect of 1.168 million children.