Postcodes will make tax collection 'more efficient'
THE roll-out of Ireland's postcode system will make it easier for the Revenue Commissioners to collect taxes.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte admitted that the application of a unique identifier to every home in the country would benefit the taxman and other state agencies.
However, the Labour politician insisted that the postcode system would bring Ireland in line with international norms and make it easier for the emergency services to locate people, particularly in rural areas.
The system, known as 'Eircode', will be fully in place by the spring of next year and will cost the taxpayer €24m over 10 years. A total of 2.2 million addresses will be assigned a seven-digit code free of charge, with no requirement by householders to change their address.
However, businesses are being urged to plan for the changes, which may impact on companies in terms of distribution.
The Eircode system involves each address being given a seven-digit number which is composed of two parts.
The first three digits are the "routing key" which will identify the area where the address is located. This will be shared by many properties in the same area.
The second part is four characters long and provides the "unique identifier" that will pinpoint the exact address.
Speaking in Dublin at the launch of Eircode, Mr Rabbitte admitted that it would make it easier for Revenue to collect taxes, such as water charges.
"I don't recall the Revenue Commissioners ever failing to do their job because they haven't been able to find a house," he said. "But the fact of the matter is, of course it makes the delivery of the state services more efficient. It's very important, in your interest and mine, as compliant taxpayers, that the Revenue should be able to do it more efficiently."
Capita Ireland, which is managing Eircode, said yesterday that Ireland would set a "new world standard" of postcode systems when it is rolled out next year. The company secured a 10-year contract from a public procurement process.
"Eircode can be mapped to show its precise location anywhere in the country. It's a new way of telling people precisely where you are," said Liam Duggan, business development director of Capita Ireland.
The introduction of Eircode was also welcomed by business and other interest groups.
Chambers Ireland said it would particularly benefit firms that did business online.
"The unique postcode system will help businesses to provide more cost-effective services around the country with the possibility of misdelivered packages and mixed-up addresses becoming a thing of the past," chief executive Ian Talbot said.