THOUSANDS of homeowners will not get letters in the post from Revenue setting out how much property tax they should pay.
The Government had promised that every property owner would recieve a letter about the tax. But now it has emerged that 65,000 people who are registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS) won't be sent a physical letter but will instead have to check their email for notification to visit their online revenue account – a move that has been criticised for adding to confusion around the new tax.
Revenue Commissioners chairman Josephine Feehily yesterday briefed the Cabinet on the progress on how the tax will be collected.
Consumer groups have warned that failing to send postal letters to everyone risked turning the administration of the new tax into a "shambles".
Revenue officials are writing to 1.6 million homeowners ahead of the introduction of the tax, which is being introduced in July. Letters are due to be sent out from Monday – except to those registered with ROS.
"Revenue will send property tax letters electronically to those who are already obliged to submit returns for other taxes electronically," a spokeswoman for the tax authority told the Irish Independent. She insisted it would not make sense to require people to file tax returns electroncially and to also write a letter to them.
Consumers Association chairman Michael Kilcoyne said it was a mistake not to send postal letters to every homeowner due to pay the tax, as this would only add to confusion about the tax.
"This will turn into a shambles if everyone who is due to get a letter does not get one."
Chartered Accountants Ireland taxation director Brian Keegan spotted the decision not to send letters to individuals who use the Revenue's website to pay their taxes.
The move will affect the self-employed, people who are in the PAYE system but have to file an annual tax return because they have additional income and are claiming tax reliefs for pension investments or other tax-based incentives.
Mr Keegan advised those who are registered with ROS to keep a sharp eye on their account for messages about the tax. "The issuing of local property tax (LPT) information and the LPT return, by post and electronically, will commence from Monday, March 11, and will run over a number of weeks," he said.
"Individuals who are active on ROS are advised to monitor their inbox."
The correspondence will provide an initial estimate of the value of each property, but homeowners will still have the right to self-assess their own home value. Those who do not self-assess will have to pay the Revenue estimate.
In most cases, the amount will be calculated by self-assessment, and the letters will provide advice for people on how to value their homes and how to calculate how much tax they owe.
Mr Keegan said each property will be allocated an individual identification number, which will be used to pay the tax.
Dublin city residents are likely to pay an average property tax of €405, compared to about €249 for their rural counterparts.
Householders will be able to pay the tax at post offices with cash, debit or credit card, or at shops using Payzone.