James Fitzsimons: Tax hits wrong people the wrong way at the wrong time
Self-assessment of property value places too much responsibility on taxpayers, writes
Your property is worth whatever you think it is. Forget the Revenue guide, it doesn't know much more than you do and probably knows a whole lot less. It was too much to expect the Revenue to say how much property tax you should pay. After all, its job is to collect tax. It has more power than it needs to get the job done and will do whatever it takes.
So it's back to square one for most of us. If you've already tried the Revenue's online help facility to value your property you will know it is not reliable. If it worked, every estate agent in the country would have had one, long ago. It's up to you to come up with the figures, or pay an expert to have a guess instead.
But don't panic yet. If everyone takes a reasonable approach, there should be no wrong answers. Unfortunately, tax law is not based on common sense or fairness, so people are genuinely concerned that what they come up with might be rejected. Don't expect to get it right, but try to be in line with everybody else. The Revenue's online valuation tool has used the same value for dissimilar properties, and that's not good enough if you want to pay the right tax.