Second-home payment demand sent to dead man

Fiona Magennis

Published 23/08/2014 | 00:00

The mistaken address of Ashtown Village, sent to homes in Aston Village.

RESIDENTS in Aston Village were left angry and bemused last week - after a spelling mistake led to them receiving payment demands for non-existent second homes.

RESIDENTS in Aston Village were left angry and bemused last week - after a spelling mistake led to them receiving payment demands for non-existent second homes.

One demand was even made to a man who had passed away some years ago.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood said he had been 'inundated' with calls from confused residents in the local estate who were dismayed to receive letters demanding fees of over €4,000.

The Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) tax is a levy aimed at anyone who owns a second home which is not their principal residence.

The NPPR system cross references two databases, the Council Local Property Tax and the Revenue Commissioners and blunder occurred when Aston Village was misspelt as 'Ashtown Village' on one of the databases - leading officials to believe that those on the databases owned two homes, one in Aston Village and one in Ashtown Village.

'I chased this up and contacted the council official whose name appeared on these letters,' said Kenneth. 'I wanted to know where this information came from and was particularly concerned that one of the letters had been sent to a gentleman who had passed away about seven years ago. You can imagine the anxiety and distress this caused his wife.'

The councillor said his inquiries to Louth County Council revealed that Aston Village had been misspelled on one of the databases as Ashtown Village - leading to the confusion.

He explained: 'When these letters went out, I received phonecalls and emails from people all over south Louth but there was a particular spike in Aston Village, so I looked into it and discovered the misspelling,' said Kenneth.

'When I asked how someone who had passed away seven years ago could receive such a letter, the council couldn't give me a definitive answer. I have asked for a letter of apology to be sent to the widow of the man in question.

Cllr Flood added: 'The wording of these NPPR demands makes it seem like the council are coming after you for a property you do not own. This can cause confusion and upset, especially to older people who rely on the council and officials to get it right. They are basically telling people to prove they are innocent.'

Drogheda Independent

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