Pay household charge by July or fork out double to taxman
HOMEOWNERS have just over six months to pay their €100 household charge or the Revenue Commissioners will chase them for double the money, Environment Minister Phil Hogan has warned.
Mr Hogan says 70pc of the 1.6 million homes liable to pay the charge had done so this year.
The tax was brought in on January 1 last, but has been dogged by controversy, such as boycotts and protests, ever since.
Although 1.1 million have paid, almost 500,000 households have not. The charge will be abolished next year and will be replaced by the property tax, which comes in from July.
The property tax will be collected by the Revenue Commissioners, unlike the household charge, which was collected by councils.
Anyone still to pay but who does so by April 30, will have their arrears capped at €30, meaning they will pay a total of €130.
But people who don't pay before July will be forced to pay an extra €100, and the fine and charge will be collected by the taxman on top of the property tax. Payments before then should still be made to local councils.
Even though 30pc of people still have to pay, Mr Hogan criticised "doom merchants" who said the household charge would be widely boycotted.
"When this charge was introduced there was plenty of doom merchants who said the charge would not be collected and people wouldn't pay," Mr Hogan said.
"How wrong they were. Seventy per cent of those liable to pay the charge have done so and I commend all those households for doing the right thing.
"We had elected representatives who actively encouraged people to break the law and not pay the charge.
"These self-same people are now calling for more funding for local authorities and at the same time encouraging people not to pay."
But Sinn Fein environment spokesman Brian Stanley said the fact that 30pc of people still haven't paid is a "disaster" for the Government.
"By any standard that is a defeat for the Government and in particular for Minister Hogan," he said.
"Minister Hogan has continued in his attempts to threaten and bully the public into submission.
"Meanwhile, he has also withheld funding to local authorities based on the level of non-payment," he added.