Revenue identify homeowners over Property Tax

Revenue identify homeowners over Property Tax

Revenue has already begun identifying homeowners who have failed to sign up for the controversial Property Tax, the agency has confirmed.

As the extended deadline for voluntary registration loomed, chair of the Revenue Commissioners Josephine Feehily warned that “non-engagers” will be contacted within the next 10 days.

She confirmed that 1.52 million forms had been returned so far ahead of the 8pm deadline – and predicted the overall compliance rate would exceed 80%.

“The next steps in this project include activating the various payment options chosen, including by sending files to employers and the relevant Government departments to begin LPT deductions at source,” Ms Feehily said.

“We are now moving quickly into compliance mode and have already begun to identify the non-engagers for follow-up action. We owe no less to all the compliant taxpayers who have voluntarily filed their returns.”

Homeowners who miss the deadline to sign up for the self-assessed tax, which will come into force on July 1, could have the money ``deducted from source'' as early as August.

They could see Revenue take the money owed directly from salaries, pensions and benefits.

“First of all, we have decided that we will begin by identifying the non-engagers who are in the PAYE sector. We will send them a reminder letter,” Ms Feehily said.

“The answer to how we will proceed is very carefully and in stages.”

She said they will be given “a very small window” to file online. Failing that, Revenue will contact their employers to arrange deduction from their salary, which would be spread over a number of months.

Ms Feehily said all non-engagers will be sent reminder letters in the first instance, which they will receive in early June.

She added that no one will have a penalty imposed automatically without engagement from Revenue, which will include reminder letters and a warning.

Self-employed homeowners who fail to register will be blocked from receiving a tax compliance certificate until they comply and pay.

“This will come after appropriate warnings and appropriate engagement,” Ms Feehily added.

“That comes further down the road. We have a backstop for self-employed people. If they haven’t paid the LPT by the income tax return, they will have a surcharge on their income tax return.”

The tax authority sent 1.66 million letters to property owners all over the country.

Ms Feehily admitted the total number of permanent dwellings across the country could be north of 1.9 million.

She said on top of those who have already registered for the tax, Revenue expects to receive payment for around 160,000 homes where local authorities or social housing groups are liable.

“Including these we have voluntary compliance in respect of some 1.68 million properties,” Ms Feehily said.

The original deadline to register for the tax had to be extended for an extra day due to an unprecedented volume of calls to its helpline on Tuesday and an online filing rate of around 10,000 returns per hour.

The Revenue boss said she expects the new tax to have contributed more than €100m to the Exchequer by the time the Department of Finance announces its end of May figures next week.

She said this was a credit to the people working at Revenue and proof that voluntary tax compliance is very high in Ireland.

Of the 1.52 million homeowners who registered ahead of the deadline, 73% filed their return online.

Just over a fifth (22%) filed a paper return, 5% filed by telephone or through the local tax office network and 3% opted for a deferral or exemption.

In signing up, almost half of homeowners (46%) paid using a debit or credit card, 15% used cheques, 27% used direct debit, 5% opted for voluntary deduction from source and 7% opted to pay through external service providers.

Left-wing TDs have continued to campaign against the tax, insisting the hard-pressed public has been stretched enough by the Government’s spending cuts and tax hikes over the last two years.

The rate was set at 0.18% of the property value, rising to 0.25% for homes worth more than €1m.

This will see the owner of a home worth the national average price of €157,400 paying nearly €300 every year.

People are required to self-assess the value of the property, but Revenue has provided estimates based on the average value of homes in particular areas.

The annual sum will be collected by the Revenue Commissioners.

Waivers will apply to homeowners earning less than €15,000, those living in ghost estates and properties with pyrite damage.

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