Self assessment of property tax won’t be straightforward
There are no houses on the market in the housing estate where I live . When I key in the name of my road on the property price register I find that there has been one transaction in the past 11 months where a house sold for €190,000 but they give no details as to whether the house has the same number of bedrooms as mine, what the condition of the house is or if it has a large back garden. However two houses around the corner sold in September, one for €230,000 and one for €265,000. Again the register provides no detail as to the finer points of these houses. So if I have to self-assess the value of my house for the property tax, is it up to me to scope these houses out, quiz the owners or the neighbours as to the number of bedrooms and compare and contrast them to my own? Well I have a life as it happens and won’t be doing any of these things.
In theory self assessment of the property tax sounds so simple. It is speculated that the value of the home will go up in bands of €50,000 and it will be calculated by self-assessment. Householders will pay the rate attached to the nearest €50,000 band, so a house worth €220,000 will pay the rate for all houses between €200,000 and €250,000 of €500. The bands go up in €50,000s . However, anyone who knows anything about property knows it won’t be that straightforward. There are all sorts of anomalies and grey areas that will make it difficult for homeowners to know how much their house is worth.
Say for example you live on a road or in a development where there haven’t been any houses sold in recent months or even years? How do you even begin to value your property? Or you live in an area where there have been a few sporadic sales but there has been no consistency in terms of the selling prices. This could happen where there are different house types on a road or where there’s been a receiver/bank sale and a property sold for a rock bottom price. An estate agent told me yesterday that he sold a five bed house in a well regarded development in Dublin 9 for €170,000. Obviously the vendor wanted a quick sale because this is way below what the house is worth, even in the current market. But if , for example, this was the only recent sale in the development at the time of self assessment for the property tax, would other residents in the area be well within their rights to value their houses in the €150,000-€200,000 price band also?
There are warnings of penalties for not paying the right amount but in this confused market, it might be hard to prove that a homeowner has under-declared . Another factor, particularly in Dublin, is that there are so few houses on the market so there will be many areas where a clear valuation is not easily deduced. There’s still an element of trial and error with the asking prices that estate agents affix to properties, the property price register is still in its infancy and there has been a dearth of transactions. It has been suggested that homeowners may have to have their homes professionally valued and if that is the case, it will be interesting to see how even a valuer would go about determining how much a property is worth in many areas where there have been no recent transactions. And if homeowners will be able to appeal if they don’t agree with the valuation or if the valuation turns out to be incorrect in the light of subsequent transactions….whatever happens it is bound to be tricky.