independent

Thursday 30 October 2014

Tax reminder letters costing over €14,000

SUSPICIONS THAT COUNCIL IS UNSURE WHO HAS PAID

MYLES BUCHANAN

Published 07/11/2012 | 09:00

WICKLOW COUNTY COUNCIL has already spent in excess of €14,000 on postage alone sending out household charge reminder letters. So far a total of 26,088 remainder letters have been sent out costing 55 cent in postage giving total postage costs of €14,348.40 - the household charge of more than 143 families.

On Monday a staff member of Wicklow County Council said a total of 45,665 houses in Wicklow were liable to pay the household charge with a total of 30,691 (67.21 per cent) having already paid the charge.

Members of the council were told that 1,451 letters were sent on July 17, 929 letters sent on August 16 and a further 708 letters sent on September 19.

Between September 19 and late October data matching came into play to identify people who hadn't already paid and a further 23,000 letters were sent saying they ' may or may not be liable to pay' the charge and indicating their details may have been incorrectly selected.

As it emerged that letters were incorrectly sent to deceased people and to people who had already paid the charge a random urban sample of 200 people were checked and the members were told there was a 4.7 per cent margin of error in that sample of 200.

Cllr. Chris Fox said the figures didn't 'inspire confidence that the council know who paid the charge at all.

'If someone has paid we have to stop sending demanding letters.' Cllr. John Brady said, ' It's a farce' to have spent so much on postage while Cllr. Slyvester Bourke said it was 'shameful' to have wasted so much on postage.

Cllr. Irene Winters also questioned the margin of error in rural areas where address can be varied but still remain recognisable.

Cllr. Conal Kavanagh said an apology for those who received letters in error was needed.

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