€200 penalty from next month for all who owe even €11 on household tax
HOMEOWNERS who neglected to pay interest of as little as €11 on their household charge will be hit with a €200 bill within days.
This is because any outstanding amount owed will be automatically increased to €200 from July 1 when the Revenue Commissioners begin chasing households for non-payment.
The fine will be levied on some 350,000 who refused to pay the tax, which was introduced in January of last year. However, it will also apply to those who paid the initial €100 charge but failed to discharge the interest.
It means their household charge will come to €300; the €100 already paid, plus €200 interest.
The agency charged with collecting the levy confirmed last night that the penalty would dramatically increase from July 1 when the Revenue Commissioners take responsibility for collecting the household charge.
It means that people have just over a week to pay any amounts outstanding – or be hit with a hugely inflated bill.
The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) said that it had written to homeowners, warning them that the penalty payments had to be discharged.
"There are people who paid €100 charge in April last year but ignored the penalties of €11," a spokeswoman said.
"They still owe €11. Whatever outstanding charge you have related to the household charge becomes a liability of €200 payable to Revenue.
"If people signed up to pay by direct debit, with four payments of €25, but cancelled their direct debit before their fourth payment, they will be hit with €200. We did contact any one who owed interest or penalties, warning them it was due."
The penalties are likely to be imposed on hundreds of thousands of homeowners. Some 1,620,814 households were liable to pay the €100 charge.
Figures published by the LGMA last night show that 1,273,746 have paid (79pc of the total), meaning that 347,068 will be hit with a €200 for non-payment, generating revenue of €69m.
The €200 penalty clause is included in the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012. The Revenue Commissioners have powers to impose further interest and penalties on homeowners who don't pay the €200, including interest rates of 8pc a year. Any household charges or late-payment penalties due on a residential property will have to be discharged in full before a property can be sold.
The LGMA was unable to provide a figure on the number of homeowners who paid the charge, but failed to pay the penalties. Figures show that 26,418 paid the charge in the last month.
The 79pc compliance rate was welcomed by the LGMA, which said it was a "good return", given that the agency did not have the same collection powers as the Revenue Commissioners.
Any outstanding liabilities can be discharged by going online to www.householdcharge.ie, through local authority offices or by posting a registration form to PO Box 12168, Dublin 1.
More than 90pc of liable households have paid the tax and those identified who refused to pay will have the amount taken from their salaries next month.