400-strong Revenue team to begin collecting property tax from July
A TEAM of up to 400 staff will be employed by the Revenue Commissioners to begin collecting the property tax from this July.
Details of the massive resources available to collect the tax from 1.66 million households come as homeowners have until close of business today to post returns for the Local Property Tax (LPT).
The deadline to register online is May 28, and the tax will be collected from July 1 next.
The Government has allocated almost €26m this year to put in place the systems needed to ensure compliance.
The numbers involved in collecting the tax will range from 200 staff to 400 at peak times, as well as outside contractors who will provide call centre services and "data capture" – or details of household names and addresses.
It has also emerged that the Revenue has been given permission to break the public sector jobs embargo and employ an additional 100 staff to collect the tax.
Revenue expects up to 97pc of liable homeowners to pay, and has said it will collect the tax directly from PAYE workers' pay packets, attachment of bank accounts and taking deductions from state payments or pensions if people refuse to register.
Homeowners who refuse to pay the tax will have the money deducted from their bank accounts from July.
PAYE workers and pensioners will be the first to be hit under a tough regime aimed at ensuring compliance, followed by those in receipt of state payments.
Revenue will use the database of 1.2 million people who have already paid the household charge to identify offenders.
They will compare the names and addresses of those who have paid the €100 household charge against a list of people sent property tax demand letters, and identify people who have failed to file a return.
It will cost almost €46m to put in place the systems and processes needed to collect the tax, with €25.9m allocated for 2013.
Another €10m – 2pc of the annual property tax yield of €500m – will be needed in 2014 and 2015, and the cost of running the systems will fall to €5m per year thereafter.
Revenue has also decided to base the property tax team in Ennis, Co Clare. Some 5,734 people are currently employed in Revenue, and another 100 will be employed to help introduce and collect the tax. They will be based across a range of divisions, including IT and the collector general's office, which is charged with collecting revenue.
It has wide-ranging powers to access details of names and addresses of households, and can use records from utility companies, the HSE or Private Residential Tenancies Board.
While the immediate focus of Revenue is to complete the register for compliant households, it will shortly focus on those who refuse to pay up.
These include 400,000 who have refused to pay the €100 household charge from last year, and who will now fall under the Revenue radar.
Some 400,000 tax returns have been made to date, with €22m collected.