Shatter: ‘Up to Revenue’ how tax is collected
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has waded into the row over the Revenue Commissioners’ deadline for householders to pay next year’s property tax before Christmas.
Speaking this morning before the launch of annual reports for the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority, he also said he expects a referendum on gay marriage to be held within the lifetime of the current government.
At the same time he suggested that the public may be suffering from “referendum fatigue” and hinted that no further referendums may take place until 2015.
Controversy has surrounded the payment of the property tax for 2014 with home owners who want to pay the full cost by credit or debit card – or via cheque – told that they are required to do so by November 27.
And while Fine Gael is supporting Revenue’s policy – and arguing that there are other payment options which mean that the tax can be paid next year – Labour leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has called on Revenue to reconsider the deadline.
Asked if Revenue should clarify the confusion sparked by a letter to almost one million households, Mr Shatter said: “It’s very clear.
“Nobody is obliged to pay this tax before 2014.
“There’s different methodologies for paying it on the notice that Revenue issued and if they want to refine the approach in some shape or form I’ve no difficulty with that but quite clearly no one is obliged to pay before 2014 and there are a whole range of ways of ensuring you don’t pay it before 2014.”
He said it is “up to Revenue” to decide how it might refine its approach to the property tax.
Meanwhile Mr Shatter said he is bringing a memo to Cabinet tomorrow on the issue of gay marriage adding: “I do believe it’s constitutional change that I would like to see effected.”
“Ultimately it’s an issue for the people and we’ll discuss it I’m sure constructively at cabinet tomorrow as to how to best approach matters.”
He said that that the issue of gay marriage is “entirely separate” to any debate on same-sex adoption and that separate legislation, the draft Children and Family Relationships Bill would cover areas such as people in civil partnerships who have families and disputes between parents and custody of and access to children.
Mr Shatter said: “But I emphasise they are separate to the issue of gay marriage and that these are issues that need to be addressed because our laws are completely out of sync with reality at this stage in the context of the multiplicity of family relationships within the state.”
He said that the timing of a referendum on gay marriage would be discussed by ministers but, referring to the series of referendums held in the last two years, added: “I suspect the general public are suffering referendum fatigue.
“Having been in the Dail for many years, I can’t recall so many referendums taking place during such a short period of time on so many very important issues.”
Mr Shatter said: “It may well be beneficial that 2014 is a referendum free year and that the further referendums that take place possibly should be in 2015” but added that he had “no fixed view on this”.