Monday 18 December 2017

Noonan confirms €50m property tax windfall from early payments

Josephine Feehily: criticised over card payment stance
Josephine Feehily: criticised over card payment stance
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE Government is set to take in €50m extra from the property tax this year, due to the number of people paying for next year's tax before Christmas.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed that he has increased his property tax estimate for this year from €250m to €300m due to the numbers paying next year's property tax in advance.

The issue has been hugely controversial because people paying by credit card or debit card were given no choice but to hand over their full property tax payment before Christmas.

Chairwoman Josephine Feehily was criticised for insisting that those paying by card had to pay the tax for 2013 and 2014 in one year. Despite complaints from Government backbenchers, the Revenue has not changed the system.

But the estimated overall property tax take for next year has also been revised upwards from €500m to €550m.

This means that the total take from the property tax in its first year-and-a-half of operation will be €850m. That is €100m higher than the previous official estimate of €750m.

The higher revenue is expected to come from a Revenue crackdown on the 150,000 homeowners who have not paid the property tax.

It will also be using its databases to identify those who have undervalued their houses to reduce their property tax bills.

The Revenue will also start deducting €200 from the wages and social welfare payments of people who have not paid the household charge in the New Year.

And city and county councils will be paying the last year's property tax bill for the houses they own after having been granted a six-month respite.

However, despite the expected surge in tax take, more than a million homeowners have yet to tell the Revenue Commissioners how they intend to pay the property tax during 2014.

New figures show that just 40pc have registered their payment details, despite a looming deadline.

Those planning to file a return by post must send it by close of business today. People who choose to file online have until November 27.

While returns have been filed in respect of almost 790,000 properties, the bulk of the 1.95 million eligible homeowners have yet to send their details, Revenue has confirmed.

"If you're sending a paper local property tax (LPT) return, the deadline is November 14," it said. Returns postmarked on the closing date will be regarded as being on time.

"If you have any queries or need assistance filing your return, contact the LPT helpline on 1890 200 255. The helpline is open from 8am until 8pm today," Revenue said.

Payment by single debit authority, like a cheque or through a bank or credit union, will be due on March 21 next. Other payments can be spread throughout the year.

The most recent statistics show that 786,000 homeowners have informed Revenue how they will pay the tax in 2014.

EXEMPT

Of these, 96,000 are paying through their salary, from pensions or social welfare payments with another 186,000 paying by direct debit.

These people did not have to tell Revenue of their preferred payment method, as it is assumed they will continue to pay by these methods. Another 44,000 deferred payment or are exempt, while 160,000 properties are owned by local authorities or housing agencies.

Irish Independent

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