Retailers say early payment of property tax ‘devastating’ for Christmas shopping
Chambers Ireland calls for rethink of rule that credit/debit card payments must be completed by end of this month
A Revenue Commissioners spokeswoman said they needed to know how people intended to pay so they could put necessary arrangements in place to facilitate those who would pay by direct debit next year. Photograph: Joe St Leger
Retailers and business operators are “hugely concerned” that property tax due next year will be collected in the coming weeks from anyone who chooses to pay in full by credit or debit card, which could “have a devastating impact on Christmas sales”.
The Revenue Commissioners have written to almost one million householders in the past week outlining how much they owe for next year’s local property tax and setting out their payment options.
Property owners are being asked to indicate how they will pay, and to do this by Thursday if writing to Revenue and by November 27th if submitting their indication online.
A spokeswoman for Revenue said they needed to know how people intended to pay so they could put necessary arrangements in place to facilitate those who would pay by direct debit next year.
It meant, she said, those who wanted to pay in full online by credit or debit card would have their payment taken there and then – i.e. on or before November 27th.
Tara Buckley, director general of the retailers’ representative group RGDATA, said her members were “really concerned about this”.
“The retail sector has really been hurting. People welcomed the budget being pulled back to October, hoping it would give people confidence about their financial situation coming up to Christmas. And now this. It’s a huge amount of money to come out of people’s pockets just before Christmas.”
Charged in full
Ian Talbot, chief executive of Chambers Ireland, said the fact those who found it most convenient to pay by debit or credit card online would be charged in full before the end of the year effectively meant this group were paying 1½ year’s worth of tax this year.
“What we were told was that people would pay half a year this year and a full year in 2014. What is now happening is not what people agreed to and not what people have prepared for.
“People are being squeezed and it absolutely will impact on the crucial Christmas shopping period. I would call on Revenue to rethink this. I can’t see any reason why it couldn’t be changed so that people can pay in full, by credit or debit card, next year. That is what we were told would happen.”
Fianna Fáil spokesman on finance Michael McGrath said it was “unacceptable” that Revenue was collecting a tax due in 2014 in 2013.