Tuesday 26 September 2017

My ill mum got a tax notice for vacant property

Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

My mother moved in with us permanently last year and will probably stay here for the rest of her life as she is very infirm.

Her own house is vacant but she received a property tax notice.

Does she have to pay?

It's more than likely that she will not. However, exemptions from the Local Property Tax (LPT) fall under very strict guidelines, as Christine Keily from www.taxback.com explains:

"The legislation provides for exemption from the charge in circumstances where a property which was occupied by a person as his or her sole or main residence has been vacated by the person for 12 months or more due to long term mental or physical infirmity.

"In addition, an exemption may also be obtained where the period is less than 12 months, if a doctor is satisfied that the person is unlikely at any stage to return to the property. It is important to note, however, that the exemption only applies where the property is not occupied by any other person ie if the property is rented it will not be exempt".

Your mother will need to complete and submit the return she received in order to avail of the above exemption. At Section A on the return she should insert the exemption type, which in this case is "H".

It is important to note that the return must be submitted in order to avail of the exemption.

Ignoring the correspondence will result in Revenue coming after her for payment.

I've received my property valuation from Revenue. I have no idea how they arrived at the price. My bungalow is in a road of five houses, none of which have sold in decades.

They are different to all the other nearby estates and of varying sizes within. How can I tell if it's correct?

Revenue's guesstimates of house values have been based on a number of sources, none of them guaranteed to be entirely accurate.

Daft.ie also has its own calculator which it claims takes more elements into account when valuing property and which may be worth cross-checking.

It was always going to be more difficult to value one-off houses, or those in small enclaves such as yours, than in city estates.

Revenue recognises this and as the tax is self-assessed, you have two options: the first is to take Revenue's guide which holds until 2016 and pay the tax they ask in good faith.

If your neighbours do likewise, it's likely they'll take it as given.

Alternatively, you can strive for a more accurate assessment yourself.

This may involve banding together and having an estate agent come out to value, for instance, or deciding between you what you believe the houses are worth.

If none sold, then you have some excuse, although it may not be accepted, for getting it wrong. Not paying the tax or ignoring the notice is a far bigger crime.

Irish Independent

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