€2,500 fine for failure to pay new household charge
HOMEOWNERS who repeatedly refuse to pay the new €100 household charge can be hit with fines of up to €2,500.
Some 1.6 million homeowners will be forced to pay the €100 charge from next month -- and the property tax is inevitably going to rise in future Budgets.
The controversial charge will be passed into law later this week.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan began the passage of the legislation last night.
The charge must either be paid in full by the end of next March or the homeowner must have made arrangements to pay it in four instalments of €25.
Mr Hogan said there would be penalties for non-payment.
A late payment fee of €10 will apply if it is paid within six months of the due date; €20 if between six and 12 months and €30 if the payment is 12 months late.
"These penalty provisions are proportionate to the level of the household charge and are similar to the provisions that apply under Revenue legislation in respect of the late filing and payment of certain taxes," said the minister.
He continued: "They will act as an incentive to pay the self-assessment household charge on time."
Mr Hogan said that after two years of failing to pay, the liability would rise to €280 when the charges, late-payment fees and late-payment interest were all taken into account.
Mr Hogan said: "I want the message to go out clearly to those who are liable to pay this necessary household charge on time, rather than incurring late-payment fees and penalties.
"Local authorities will also have power to take prosecutions against owners who fail to discharge their liability to pay.
"Prosecution will be by way of summary proceedings and a court may impose a class C fine under the Fines Act 2010, which ranges from €1,000 to €2,500."
The Government will run an ad campaign in the New Year to warn homeowners that they have three months in which to pay the €100 charge.
Payment can be made by post or through a dedicated website which will be operated by the Local Government Management Agency. The charge can also be paid by instalment through four direct debits.
People who rent their homes will not pay the charge, as the liability rests with the owner.
Exemptions will also apply to: unsold properties; social, voluntary or charitable housing; homes owned by the Government or HSE; or where a person is forced to leave their home due to illness, for example where an elderly person moves into a nursing home.
Exemptions will also apply to people in receipt of mortgage interest supplement, and for those living in certain unfinished housing developments. The names of the housing developments will be announced early in the New Year.
Mr Hogan will set out the criteria for exemptions today.
Some €160m will be generated in a year through the charge, but homeowners can expect a steep rise over the coming years when the charge is replaced with a property tax based on the value of the home.