Irish News

Wednesday 20 August 2014

State can now take property tax from your personal bank account

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 21/12/2012 | 05:00

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THE taxman will have the power to take money out of the bank accounts of people who do not pay the new property tax, Revenue has confirmed.

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And the tax officials will not have to get a court order before telling a bank to give Revenue money from the bank account of a non-compliant property taxpayer.

This is in addition to new powers allowing Revenue officials to enter the homes of those who do not pay to assess the value of properties.

The property tax legislation, which was approved by the houses of the Oireachtas last week, has amended the 1997 Tax Consolidation Act.

'Power'

A Revenue spokeswoman said: "Section 1002 of the Tax Consolidation Act grants Revenue the power to attach amounts due to a defaulting taxpayer by a third party (including a financial institution)."

This basically means Revenue can order a bank to hand over money from that person's bank account.

Finance expert Karl Deeter warned that tax officials now have a number of powers to ensure full compliance.

"Revenue are not to be toyed with. If you won't pay the tax, officials have the power to go into your bank account and take the money," he said.

The Government is trying to ensure there is no repeat of the household charge debacle, by beefing up the powers of Revenue.

More than half-a-million householders have yet to pay.

Other new powers to be given to the Revenue Commissioners include those that allow tax officials to enter people's homes to assess them for the property tax. But this may face a Constitutional challenge, a leading law expert has warned.

The Local Property Tax Bill 2012 will allow tax officials to "enter on land and inspect the relevant residential property".

"The section obliges the person occupying the property to allow the authorised person to inspect the property at all reasonable times."

But barrister James McDermott, who also lectures at UCD, has said this may end up being challenged in the Supreme Court. He said it appeared to be in conflict with article 40 of the Constitution, which states: "The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with law."

Mr McDermott said this meant homeowners had protections from having their home forcibly entered, but it was likely that Revenue would argue the "save in accordance with law" would allow them access.

Irish Independent

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