Some of most exclusive houses in country exempt from property tax
Published 15/02/2013 | 04:00
SOME of the most exclusive houses in the country will be exempt from the property tax because the residences of foreign ambassadors to Ireland won't be liable for the charge.
This includes some of the plushest houses in the State, such as the residence of the French Ambassador on Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4.
New guidelines published by the Revenue Commissioners say "diplomatic property" as well as mobile homes, vehicles and boats will be excluded.
Around 60 or so foreign diplomats are resident in Ireland, but not all of these live in residences owned by their home countries.
"A lot of the older embassies like the French, the ones around Ailesbury Road, would own their residences," a source said. "The newer ones and the ones around the city centre would be rented."
Under international treaties, official residences are considered diplomatic properties. The French residence was put up for sale in 2008 with an asking price of €60m for the 1,020 square metre home, which comes with a 1.75 acre garden, and is considered to be one of the largest and grandest detached houses in Dublin.
Offers were made at the time but eventually withdrawn as the property market collapsed.
However, the residence of the American Ambassador in the Phoenix Park is owned by the Irish State and managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW), and it is unclear if property tax would have to paid on that.
A nominal rent is paid to the State for its use.
Mobile homes will also be exempt, but is not clear if people living in halting sites will be liable.
The Department of the Environment says it does not have an exact number for full-time occupied mobile homes in the country, but said 920 families are registered as living in halting sites.
A Revenue spokeswoman said: "A mobile home is not defined in the legislation. It would be regarded as a structure that is not permanently attached to the ground and can be moved from place to place."
The guidelines from the Revenue also say that full deferrals of the property tax will only be given to people earning less than €15,000 a year, and couples with combined incomes of €25,000.
A half-rate deferral can be given to a single person earning less than €25,000 and couples on less than €35,000. The level of a person's mortgage can also be used when requesting a deferral.
However, the tax must eventually be paid and interest of 4pc will be charged for each year it is deferred.
The Revenue yesterday published the form homeowners will have to complete and return to them to register for the tax.
However, the letters the taxman will send out with the "indicative value" of a tax a person will pay have yet to be finalised.