Household tax dodgers face €2.3m bill by end of June
KERRY property owners who have still to pay the controversial household charge are facing a bill of over €2.3 million and possible legal action by Revenue if they don't pay the charge by the end of June.
To date 80 per cent of property owners have paid the household charge, which has now been replaced by the Property Tax, but those who have yet to pay have until the end of June to pay their outstanding household charge bills or face legal action and penalties from the taxman.
At present there are still 11,647 property owners in Kerry who have yet to pay the household charge which was originally set at €100 per property. Those that pay by the end of May will have to hand over an increased sum of €145 including interest and penalties for late payment while those paying by the end of June will have to pay €200.
After that deadline Revenue says it will pursue any outstanding household charge bills which will be added to property owners' Property Tax bills and will be collected by Revenue as part of its Property Tax collection system.
Those that fail to pay the property tax or household charge will be actively sought by Revenue officials and will be liable for interest and penalties that will accrue daily up to an annual limit of €3,000.
If Revenue believe a homeowner is deliberately avoiding paying property tax the agency's officials will be empowered to use warrants to inspect homes and use both sheriffs and the courts to collect outstanding monies.
The deadline for online registration for the Property Tax falls in less than a week, on Tuesday May 28. While exact figures for Kerry are not available it's understood that Property Tax registration rates in the county are broadly in line with national trends and that between 55 and 60 per cent of property owners have now registered to pay the tax.
Government figures show that there are 60,143 properties in Kerry whose owners are eligible to pay the Property Tax including 13,143 rented homes whose landlords are eligible and some 8,000 holiday homes.
A further 331 houses in 27 developments classed as ghost estates are exempt from the tax as are properties owned by charities and religious bodies.
Kerry County Council and the three town councils in Tralee, Killarney and Listowel are obliged to pay the property tax, at its lowest rate of valuation, on 4,081 council homes across the county.
The four authorities will cover the cost of the tax this year, at a cost of approximately €150,000 though it has been indicated that the cost of the tax is likely to be passed on to council tenants through increased rents.
* See page 80 for more on the Property Tax