Householders will be able to pay home tax at post offices
PEOPLE will be able to pay their property tax at their local post office – in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the household charge fiasco.
The local authorities did not use the country's 1,100-plus post offices last year to collect the €100 charge – which has still not been paid by around 470,000 households 14 months later. But the Revenue has been given responsibility for the property tax and has now awarded a contract to An Post to allow people to pay it at their local post office.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte confirmed the new contract during a Dail discussion about the future of the post office network.
"That will help the Revenue position of An Post and it is the kind of new service it can provide better than anybody else, with a network of 1,138 offices throughout the country," he said.
TDs had previously criticised the failure to use post offices to collect the household charge, given it was convenient for elderly people and those collecting social welfare payments.
It is a sign of the Revenue's determination to use every possible option to collect the property tax.
It has the power to deduct it from the wages and social welfare payments of those who refuse to pay, as well as the ability to take it out of people's bank accounts.
An Post has also got the contract to deliver the Revenue letters to households next month which will contain estimates of how much property tax they have to pay.
In the Dail, Mr Rabbitte could not resist a jibe at Independent TD Mick Wallace, who had brought up the threat to the future of Duncormick post office in his Wexford constituency.
"I am sorry that although I gave the deputy the opportunity to break the news about the collection of the property tax, he did not rise to his feet to welcome it," Mr Rabbitte said.
Mr Wallace is one of several opposition TDs who has not paid the €100 household charge and has been calling on the public to boycott it.
A spokeswoman for An Post confirmed that the company had been awarded the contract by the Revenue to collect the property tax at its post offices.
"We are very much looking forward to playing a key role. We are best placed, with a unique network of over 1,100 post offices and 1.7 million people visiting a post office every week," she said.