Monday 18 December 2017

Charlie Weston: Collection of levy is proving to be a taxing affair

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

WHAT is it about the property tax in this country?

The authorities cannot get it right for getting it wrong.

For weeks now the Revenue Commissioners, and its boss Josephine Feehily, have been under pressure for the cack-handed way almost one million householders were told about next year's tax.

It seems that the person calling the shots in Revenue has no clear understanding of just how unfamiliar ordinary householders are with matters of taxation.

How else to explain a poorly worded letter sent to homeowners in the past few weeks?

The letters asked for credit and debit card payments for next year's bills this month. But the letters did not make clear that there were other ways of paying the tax early next year.

This fine mess prompted an admission from Ms Feehily to TDs and senators that the tax authorities had made mistakes.

Now it has emerged that there was another blunder in the wording of the property tax legislation.

Thousands of people are due a refund, and will qualify for an exemption from the tax up to 2016 – even though they were never supposed to get this deal.

The exemption was meant for first-time buyers only but will now apply to any owner-occupier who buys this year.

Finance officials were running for cover when contacted by the Irish Independent and referring all queries to Revenue.

The net effect is that another blow has been landed when it comes to the credibility of this relatively new tax.

Revenue is now poring over stamp duty returns for this year to find owner-occupier buyers and refund them.

Askaboutmoney's Brendan Burgess,who spotted the mistake, has advised those effected to contact the Revenue and claim a refund if they have paid, and make sure they get an exemption up to 2016.

Irish Independent

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