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Revenue uses Google to spy for home tax

THE Revenue Commissioners are using Google Street View and Maps to check up on those who may have undervalued their homes to reduce their level of Property Tax.

Revenue officials are mapping out every property in Ireland in order to highlight those owners whose homes are valued significantly below those of their neighbours.

"This is an effective tool in looking at individual property valuations," said Revenue's Michelle Carroll.

She said it was also "very cost-effective".

The nationwide map, which is being created by Revenue, will be only for official use. The map will also show the identity of the homeowners in question and their PPS numbers.

"If people think they have undervalued, they will have an opportunity to correct the value online," added Ms Carroll. "People can self-correct without fear of interest and penalties until the end of this month."

OFFICIALS

Revenue is urging homeowners who feel they may have undervalued their properties to correct the valuation online by March 31, before officials launch a nationwide compliance programme.

Those who are identified to have deliberately undervalued their homes will receive correspondence from Revenue next month.

If property owners do not take advantage of the opportunity being offered, Revenue says that "interest will apply where additional tax becomes payable in cases where a property was undervalued". More than 1,400 people have self-corrected their valuation since November.

Since the announcement of the six-week window for people to regularise their Local Property Tax and Household Charge affairs, around 20,000 Property Tax returns for 2014 have been received by Revenue, with more than €700,000 being paid on a daily basis.

Ms Carroll said that there was no formal agreement between Revenue and Google as both Google Maps and Google Street View are "open-source products". A spokesperson for Google said that the company had no comment to make on the matter.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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