Property tax deferral claims double

In the first half of 2017, the number of people seeking to defer payment of their local property tax doubled.

Property tax deferral claims double

Revenue figures show 62,000 claims for deferrals up to the end of June.

Just 30,600 homeowners sought a deferral at the same stage last year, while there were 48,000 claims for a deferral in all of 2016.

The Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said the increase was further evidence that many families were still struggling under significant financial pressure, despite the economic recovery.

“It provides an indication that income levels in many households remain under pressure,” he said.

The Cork South Central TD also called on the Government to provide early clarity on how the scheduled revaluation of properties, for the purposes of LPT in 2019, will impact on taxpayers. “Properties will move up two or three bands on the LPT scale, which will not be affordable for many families,” he said.

The vast majority of claims for deferral, or 59,800 cases, are based on households saying they are below the income threshold for paying LPT.

Under the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act, 2012, a system of deferral arrangements is available for people who are unable to pay and where certain specified conditions are met.

The income threshold for a full deferral is €15,000 for single-adult households and €25,000 for couples.

The limit for a partial deferral — 50% of the LPT — is €25,000 for a single, adult owner-occupier, and €35,000 for a couple.

Landlords or householders who own second properties are not eligible to seek a deferral on the basis of their income.

Deferral may also be granted to personal representatives of a deceased person and the executors of wills, and on personal insolvency and hardship grounds for people who experience a “significant financial loss” of at least 20% of their annual gross income.

Revenue said a deferral is not an exemption and the full amount of the LPT remains payable, together with an interest charge of 4% per annum.

The deferred tax remains a charge on the property in the event of non-payment, and is repaid to Revenue when the property is sold or transferred to another person.

Meanwhile, the number of property owners seeking exemptions from paying any LPT has also increased this year, with 48,000 claims received in the first six months, compared to 44,200 in the corresponding period last year, and 47,000 for all of 2016.

1,100 householders have sought an exemption on the basis that their homes are certified as having suffered pyrite damage, while 3,300 homeowners looking for an exemption are living in unfinished housing estates.

According to Revenue, LPT receipts to the end of June were €299m, including €2m in household charge arrears.

The compliance rate for paying the LPT is estimated at 96% so far this year — 1% higher than the corresponding period in 2016.

It has ranged from a low of 92.3%, in Donegal, to a high of 99.3%, in Fingal.

220,800 households have been issued with warnings by Revenue this year, in relation to their liabilities for payment of LPT.

A spokeswoman said 8,500 tax-clearance requests had been refused in 2017 because of the claimant’s non-compliance with LPT.

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