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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Banks reap €456,000 in credit card fees from property tax

Josephine Feehily,Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners. Photo: Tom Burke
Josephine Feehily,Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners. Photo: Tom Burke

Edel Kennedy and Niall O'Connor

BANKS and other financial institutions have pocketed close to half-a-million euro in credit card fees generated by the property tax.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal that around 200,000 homeowners used credit cards to pay the tax this year.

Some €32m was collected through credit card payments in 2013 -- just under 15pc of the overall €215.3m taken in by the Revenue Commissioners.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that banks and other institutions collected €456,000 in credit card fees.

The amount of money generated by credit card payments is set to be significantly higher when the 2014 tax is taken into account, as the Revenue Commissioners said that credit card payments are subject to a tax and a 1.49pc charge.

"Payments by credit card differ from other methods of payment in that the charges associated with credit card payments are governed by Statutory Instrument 255 of 2012 made under section 960EA of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997," according to a spokeswoman.

"These Regulations, which came into effect on July 18 2012, provide that a person who wishes to make a payment of tax to the Revenue Commissioners by means of an approved credit card via the internet may do so, provided that person pays the tax and a charge of 1.49pc of that payment," she added.

The spokeswoman confirmed the fees go directly to the banks and financial institutions which issued the cards.

Revenue Commissioners chairperson Josephine Feehily has previously expressed concern about storing a large amount of card details.

The issue of credit card payments was the subject of controversy last month after Revenue controversially told almost a million homeowners to pay their property tax bill for 2014 by November 27 -- if they were paying by card or cheque.

Despite being criticised for the move, Revenue stuck to its guns claiming there was significant risk surrounding the retention of credit card details.

Ms Feehily did however state her officials will re-examine the process ahead of the 2015 tax.

Irish Independent

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