Revenue inundated with queries about property tax

Some 960,000 letters have been issued to homes since Wednesday

Revenue was inundated with queries today after almost one million letters were issued giving payment deadlines for the 2014 Local Property Tax.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

Revenue was inundated with queries today after almost one million letters were issued giving payment deadlines for the 2014 Local Property Tax. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 21:23

Revenue was inundated with queries yesterday after almost one million letters were issued giving payment deadlines for the 2014 Local Property Tax.

Some 960,000 letters have issued to home owners since Wednesday last outlining the amount owed in the tax next year and the options available for payment of the sum due.

Several householders complained they received letters suggesting they owed sums vastly in excess of what they expected they would have to pay, based on their property tax returns earlier this year.

A number of callers to the RTE Liveline programme also complained that the latest letter had issued in the names of dead relatives, despite having made clear who the current owner of the property was when the local property tax was paid in 2013.

Those who tried to call the Revenue helpline to have their concerns addressed were left on hold for up to 45 minutes such was the volume of calls from anxious householders about the latest correspondence.

A spokeswoman for Revenue said it was precluded by legislation from commenting on specific cases. However, it said there was an explanation for why a small number of householders may have received inflated bills.

“We are aware that in a very small number of cases, individuals omitted to tick the relevant self-assessed valuation band when completing the Local Property Tax return in May even though they may have fully completed the payment method section of the return. In such circumstances, the LPT system will have deducted the amount of the Revenue estimate for 2013. Consequently, the estimate amount for a full year will be included on the LPT payment method letter issued recently,” it said.

The spokeswoman also confirmed the Revenue had dealt with a huge volume of calls yesterday.

While there were concerns aired also that those who paid by debit card * now would be charged immediately even though the tax is not due until 2014, she stressed a number of payment options were available.

“In line with data protection requirements and more specifically best practice in relation to data retention, Revenue does not retain credit/debit card details for longer than is necessary to process and validate the payment and therefore cannot postpone the deduction of LPT until 2014 for this payment method,” she said.

“However, there is no need to pay by debit/credit card. We have designed the administration of this tax in such a manner as to ensure there are numerous payment methods from which you can choose to best suit your circumstances,” she added.

Revenue stressed that those who paid by direct debit or salary deduction - including welfare payment or pension sacrifice last year, need not take any action now, as their payment mandates will remain in place. Similarly those who claimed a deferral or were exempt last year, need take no action now.

Two immediate deadlines are important. For those who wish to deal with the revenue commissioners on paper, the deadline for choosing a payment option is November 7th. For those who wish to go online and pay the deadline for this option is November 27th.

The spokeswoman said the market valuation band declared on last year’s return applies for the period 2013 to 2016. Any work carried out on a residential property under the Home Renovation Incentive announced in Budget 2014 by the Minister for Finance will not affect the amount of LPT payable for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

For those who were still confused the revenue Commissioners have a telephone helpline on 1890 200255.

* This article was amended on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

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