McDonald will pay property tax she opposes

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has admitted she has decided to pay the controversial property tax — despite asking families to oppose the new levy.

She made the disclosure ahead of today’s Revenue deadline for registering returns for the Local Property Tax (LPT).

The Dublin TD admitted: “We’re not instructing people to do anything one way or the other. We will, as a family, be paying it for the simple reason that if we don’t pay it, it will be taken from us.”

The SF deputy leader said she had told constituents it was not a question of ‘won’t pay’ but rather ‘can’t pay’ now at this stage for many families.

Likely defaulters have been reminded by Revenue it has full powers in terms of payroll, social welfare and bank accounts to take money. Furthermore, Revenue can charge an additional levy by way of penalty.

Ms McDonald said: “That’s the decision we’ve taken as a family. Obviously, as a citizen, I would always prefer to be fully tax-compliant. I always play by the rules.

“We’re registering and paying this tax very much under protest because we know, for many families, this is a bridge too far.”

Sinn Féin said yesterday it would publish legislation later this summer to repeal the property tax and hoped the bill would get support from Labour backbenchers.

Ms McDonald said it would be published in July. Revenue say payments must be made in July.

Meanwhile, almost 375,000 property owners have still not paid the 2012 household charge in advance of today’s deadline for registering for the Local Property Tax. As of yesterday evening, approximately 1,265,000 householders out of over 1.62m residential properties have, so far, paid last year’s charge, according to figures published by the Department of the Environment yesterday.

It represents a compliance rate of just below 77% of all households estimated to be liable for the charge.

Compliance rates were initially low following a high-profile campaign led by a number of left-wing TDs against the charge.

The cap rises to €145 up to the end of June.

Those who have still not paid face having an increased sum deducted automatically as the Government has introduced legislation to increase the original charge from €100 to €200 for non-payers from Jul 1.

Any unpaid charges will also be considered a local property tax liability which can be deducted from a person’s salary, pension or social welfare receipt by the Revenue Commissioners.

The highest compliance rate for the household charge was in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council where almost 90% have paid the charge.

Other areas with high compliance rates include Mayo (84.7%), Galway City (83.3%), Sligo (81.4%) and Kerry (81.2%).

Cork City has a compliance rate of 76.2% and Cork County Council 76.2%.

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