Everything you need to know about the property tax

Q. What do I need to know about the local property tax?

A. If you are the owner, or Revenue suspect you to be the owner of one or more properties, whether it’s your home, holiday home, investment property or some combination of the above, you will get a letter next week with an assessment of the tax you have to pay on it and details of how to pay.

Q. So I can sit back and wait for the postman to deliver the bad news?

A. Not if you’re registered with ROS, the Revenue Online Service, in which case, you won’t get a letter but an email informing you of the same.

Q. I have an accountant who handles my tax affairs so I can ignore it, right?

A. No, all correspondence will go directly to you. You can hand everything over to your agent to process but they won’t receive anything directly from Revenue even if they normally do for other kinds of taxes.

Q. I jointly own my house with my spouse/partner/former spouse — who has to pay the tax?

A. Any number of people can contribute to the cost of the tax but Revenue will only deal with one individual so you will have to decide among yourselves. If you’re in dispute with the other owner, Revenue will take the full amount from whoever it catches first.

Q. What is the assessment my tax liability based on?

A.The estimated value of your property. Revenue have created 20 different valuation bands with values increasing in blocks of €50,000. A property worth €200,000-€250,000 for example carries a €202 tax this year (it’s only for half a year) and €405 next year.

Q. How is Revenue estimating property values?

A. Using sources such as propertypriceregister.ie and their newly created online interactive valuation guide.

Q. The house next door to me just sold for a good price but it’s got an extension that adds 50% more floor space than mine. Am I doomed to a higher tax?

A. Not necessarily. Revenue will try to average out the values of similar properties in an area. If you feel your’s has been over-estimated, you can submit your own valuation and the grounds for it, for Revenue to consider. If Revenue insist on the higher valuation, you must pay it but you can appeal. Beware if you think you’ve been significantly undervalued. You have to sign a legal declaration when you return your forms and it could come back to haunt you if you don’t confess you feel Revenue have been too lenient.

Q. What if there’s no property similar to mine?

A. One-off homes and farmhouses will present a greater problem when it comes to valuation so don’t be afraid to make your own valuation. Gardens, land, tennis courts, etc up to one acre in size will be included for valuation purposes as will sheds, garages and outbuildings that are enhancing the value of the home.

Q. Is any property owner exempt from the tax?

A. People buying their first home this year are exempt until 2017 as are new properties bought between Jan 1 this year and Oct 31, 2016. Anyone who has been out of their home for 12 months because of illness or infirmity is also exempt provided no other family member or tenant is living in the house. There are limited other exemptions, but Revenue will presume you are liable unless you return the form and claim the exemption.

Q. I was one of the 25%-30% who never paid the household charge and they haven’t caught me yet so I shouldn’t worry, should I?

A. The household charge has not gone away. !The outstanding sum will be raised, added to your property tax liability and continue to follow you around until you pay it.

Q. How can I find more?

A. There is a detailed guide at www.revenue.ie. The Irish Tax Institute also have posted information at www.taxinstitute.ie. Further information will be posted out by Revenue nextweek. Citizens Information Centres also have details.

— Reporting: Caroline O’Doherty

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