Friday 23 March 2018

Can I stop property tax being taken from pay?

I have a moral objection to the property tax and am not going to pay it. I didn't pay the household charge and have only received one letter in this regard, which I ignored. I believe Revenue is intending to get people's employers to pay the tax but I believe this is a breach of my privacy. Can I tell my HR department not to authorise the demand?

As of last December, 30pc of homeowners still hadn't complied with the household charge payment and, partly as a result, Environment Minister Phil Hogan decided to hand over the collection of the Local Property Tax to Revenue as its powers to collect are much stronger than those of local authorities.

Not paying will be akin to not paying income tax. Indeed, those who have not paid the household charge will find it rolled up to €200 and added on to the bill from July 1.

Revenue says: "Where a liable person fails to submit a return, the Revenue Commissioners will instruct either the employer, pension provider, Department of Social Protection or the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as appropriate, to deduct the amount of the Revenue estimate when making payments to the liable person."

So they can demand your employer make a deduction via your salary in the same way he does for income tax. If they refuse, a fine of €100 a day may be applied to them.

I have received a letter from Ulster Bank, demanding €15,000 on my mortgage due to under-charging going back years. I am one of those who switched from First Active when it was taken over and don't have this kind of money. Isn't this their fault?

Oh dear. Ulster Bank's woes continue. After the IT debacle last year they could ill afford this mess but it seems that 1,300 customers who, like you, were originally with First Active – on an interest-only mortgage for the first number of years – find themselves owing thousands to Ulster Bank (the new owner) in uncollected payments.

The problem appears to stem from the fact that once these low-cost loans came off their initial interest-only period, they didn't revert to ordinary capital and interest mortgages. Your payments, therefore, did not increase to include repayments towards the amount borrowed.

While €15,000 is a great deal of money, some borrowers are thought to owe up to €60,000. The bank, along with apologising, has offered several methods of repayment as the rest of the mortgage now converts to a normal repayment structure. These include taking out a separate interest-free loan; extending the term of the original mortgage; repaying the amount over the normal term (by increased payments); or repaying in a lump sum.

It is unfair, but the bank is within its rights under the terms and conditions of the mortgage. The €15,000 is part of your original mortgage, rather than an 'extra' amount. Take your time to assess the best repayment option for you, or get advice from a broker.

Above all, you should not be any more out of pocket because of the mess, so insist that no extra interest is charged on this amount.

Irish Independent

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