I'm confused by the new property tax. Apparently Revenue will tell us what it thinks our houses are worth but mine is the only one on my street with an extension and converted attic space as it's a corner site. Can I go by Revenue's valuation or will I have to get my own?
The new property tax is calculated at 0.18pc on houses valued up to €1,000,000 and 0.25pc on the balance, with half the amount normally payable due this July.
The valuation is self-assessed, but Christine Keily of www.taxback.com says that Revenue will issue a letter to every household in March which includes an official valuing guide along with a notice of estimate and the appropriate form to complete.
"This estimate is not an official valuation estimate of the property and should not be relied upon as such. Revenue do not consider themselves to be valuation experts", says Keily. Instead, it is intended as "payment amount advice" that indicates the charge Revenue will apply should they not receive any further information from the home owner.
"In essence it is akin to an ESB estimate – it doesn't necessarily reflect your actual usage and you can phone in a more accurate meter reading".
"The liable person is expected to provide accurate information regardless of the estimate Revenue has provided. Should your property have had the benefit of a significant uplift in value as a consequence of an extension, remodelling or any other factor (i.e. corner location) then Revenue will expect a taxpayer to recognise this in their return and upwardly revise their valuation".
So the short answer is yes; If your house is worth more than your neighbours' houses then you will be expected to advise them of this and pay more, regardless of the initial estimate given.
I applied for a mortgage with two different banks and one has returned to say that it is getting a credit check on me. Can you tell me what this is likely to say?
It's common place for banks to seek credit checks before lending, which show your payment history on previous loans, credit card repayments etc., They show the last 24 months payments and outstanding balance on all debts, but can go back six years.
Also shown are previous applications for credit, loans settled for less than the balance owed, and any legal action taken against you by lenders. It awards scores for positive or negative behaviour. The higher the score, the lower the risk you are considered to a lender.
Any missed payment would ring alarm bells for them. Conversely, no loan history would also alert them. The ICB doesn't recommend whether a loan should be granted or not.
But you don't have to wait to see what happens – you are entitled to see your own credit report.
The banks contribute to an organisation called the Irish Credit Bureau (www.icb.ie) and you can apply for your personal report for €6.
It will also alert you to any errors in your credit history which you can then correct.