Neighbour pitted against neighbour in new property tax value clampdown
A new clampdown on property tax valuations will pit neighbour against neighbour as the taxman compares the value a homeowner places on their house with people living nearby.
The Revenue Commissioners also plan to use the energy rating of a house to put a price on the property. The details of Revenue's plans to expand its ability to value properties is contained in the annual report of the taxpayers' watchdog reveals.
The Comptroller and Auditor General's report reveals the Government actually underestimated the amount of money to be collected from the property tax.
Some €250m was expected to be collected, with €259m actually coming in last year.
The report says 3,600 homes were valued at €1m or more in the country for the property tax. But the number of €1m homes was actually 20pc higher than expected.
Some 3,900 property owners voluntarily corrected their valuation upwards this year, with 187 saying the house was worth €250,000 more than their previous estimate. A total of 14,400 homeowners opted to have the property tax deducted from social welfare payments, and 1,800 farmers opted to pay their property tax from Department of Agriculture payments.
The C&AG recommended using additional ways to ensure compliance with property tax valuations. Revenue has indicated it intends to broaden its ways of valuing properties.
They said one of its methods was to compare returns for a property against those of its nearest neighbours and the average for the location.
The system "readily identifies properties where the return valuation differs from the neighbourhood average".
Revenue also said it will be using assessment of valuations returned against other sources of information, engaging with experts in the area, such as the Valuation Office, to ensure knowledge of any best practice in the field and using geographic information and analysis of valuations, right down to neighbourhood, small area and local authority level.
Regarding the valuation of homes every three years for the property tax, the Comptroller wants Revenue to get taxpayers to provide more detailed information on their houses to be included in the returns.
Revenue rejected this recommendation as it said the collection of data about individual properties was given serious consideration when the property tax started.
But the tax authorities have developed a process to assess and review compliance with valuations and it was is not clear that having this additional information on properties would offer significant assistance.
Revenue did say it was considering options to "improve the valuation model by capturing or collecting additional information from different sources" that would place less burden on property owners.
"One option might be to seek information from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which receives detailed property characteristic information through the Building Energy Rating (BER) certification," the report says.
Better insulation and energy efficiency adds to the value of a house.