Wednesday 21 February 2018

Taxing times for the Revenue man

With the referendum over, normal service can resume. One sign of this return to normality is the re-appearance of Environment Minister Phil Hogan who had been missing from political life for several weeks as the Government tried to curry favour with the public. Now we learn that he has instructed local councils to use the ESB database to target the 650,000 homeowners who ignored previous pleas to pay the household charge.

Many citizens do not like the household charge but the truth remains that it was imposed by a Government with a large electoral mandate. Not to pay legitimate taxes simply because they are novel or unfair is anarchy and every bit as illogical as refusing to pay one of the many recent increases in the excise on petrol.

The Government appears to be relying on statistics that show around 40pc of those who do not pay TV licence fees automatically pay once they receive a letter demanding payment. There is something about the printed word, backed up by the threat of legal sanctions, that makes most of us quiver.

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