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Saturday 24 March 2018

Confusion and the need to fight your corner as deadline draws near

The second-home tax threw up several anomalies and caused widespread upset as the deadline loomed.

In one case a person in Co Galway trying to sell their house could not get the necessary tax payment clearance document. The reason given was a that "a granny flat" extension was a separate residence which had been liable for the second-home tax which remained unpaid.

A solicitor acting for the person involved told the Irish Independent that after a battle the council involved relented. The solicitor said it was clear that the "granny flat" was not a separate residence.

In a second case, somebody who was gifted a house, but a close relative had right of residence in it, was told they were still liable for a second-home tax. The reason given here was the close relative did not have "sole right of residence", suggesting the person gifted the house could live there at times.

A barrister was consulted in this case who challenged that view of the law. The principle of "sole right of residence" did not apply, the barrister insisted. And the council involved again relented.

"The moral here is that you must fight your case," the Galway solicitor, who did not want to be identified, said.

A spokesperson for the umbrella body responsible for administration, the Local Government Management Agency, said that all local councils had a deal of latitude in the application of the rules. "Queries such as this must be addressed to the relevant council," the spokesperson said. People in difficulty were advised to consult their council.

Irish Independent

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