The Revenue Commissioners have warned that it will shortly begin targeting the owners of 100,000 properties who had not registered for the property tax by last night’s deadline.
The tax authorities have estimated that enforcement measures will only be required on less than 5% of all individuals liable for the tax over their failure to file an obligatory return.
Anyone who fails to register their property for the new tax will have money deducted automatically from their salary, pension, or social welfare payment based on Revenue’s own estimate of the value of their home.
The Revenue’s chairwoman, Josephine Feehily, said her officials would initially focus on Paye workers who had not registered their property and would send them a final reminder letter over the next 10 days.
If they still fail to file a return, Revenue will notify its staff of its intention to seek deductions from their salary over a six-month period.
Ms Feehily said self-employed persons who failed to file a return would be caught for the tax if they tried to seek a tax clearance certificate after Jul 1. Otherwise, they face a surcharge on their income tax returns.
She stressed that late-payers would not face any interest or other penalty charges.
Ms Feehily last night expressed surprise at how many homeowners had already paid the tax in a single payment. As a result, around €100m is expected to be paid to the Exchequer this month.
The Oireachtas Finance Committee heard that 61% of property owners have chosen to pay the tax up front in a single payment, either via debit/credit card or cheque, with 27% choosing to pay by direct debit. Another 5% selected to pay by deduction from their salary and 7% are paying via an external service provider.
Ms Feehily said she had no reason to believe Revenue would not reach the original target of raising €250m in 2013 for the first half-year of the new tax. The household charge has raised an additional €120m.
By the close of business last night, 1,539,822 returns had been received, while another 160,000 returns are still to be accessed in relation to social housing and local authority housing.
Another 40,000 properties in the hands of receivers are classified as “stock-in-trade” and are exempt from the new tax. This means that, all told, about 1.72m properties have been formally registered.
Returns were being filed at the rate of 2,000 per hour yesterday — down from an average hourly rate of 10,000 on Tuesday.
More than 400,000 returns have been received since last Friday as people rushed to file their returns in advance of Tuesday’s original deadline, which was extended to 8pm last night.
Ms Feehily praised the high rate of voluntary tax compliance by Irish taxpayers and said she believed it would be well in excess of 80%.
Revenue is still unable to give precise figure on compliance rates but Ms Feehily said she believed the ultimate total would be somewhere “north of 1.9m properties”.
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