Revenue to have access to salaries and bank accounts of defaulters on new tax
The power of the Revenue Commissioners to collect taxes will be used to full effect to ensure there is close to full compliance with the new property tax, experts have claimed.
However, the Irish Tax Institute also predicts that the Revenue will not adopt an excessively heavy-handed approach and will be unlikely to investigate people who carry out small home improvements or made honest mistakes when it came to assessing which tax band their properties fall into after they get their self-assessment letters next week.
“The Revenue has been very careful in its use of the word ‘honest’ when it has been talking about self-assessment,” Cora O’Brien, the director of technical services at the ITI, said yesterday.
“Even the best valuers in the world can make mistakes, particularly in the current climate. What they want in the early stages at least is to ensure compliance.”
She stressed that the Revenue had far-reaching powers of collection and would be able to access the salaries, social welfare payments and bank accounts of those who do not pay.
It would also be able to carry out investigations of properties, withhold tax relief and refuse to give tax clearance certificates to those who do not pay.
She echoed Revenue estimates that compliance would be more than 97 per cent. “They have put together a very good system which has a lot of levers they can pull to get access to the money,” she said.
“It will probably take a little while to bed down and there may well be some teething problems, but I have no doubt that the process will begin to work very smoothly very quickly,” she added. “There is no question that the levels of non-compliance that were seen with the household charge will be repeated.”
More than 25 per cent of householders did not pay the €100 household charge last year. Householders will begin to receive property tax assessments from next Monday and will be given until the end of May to file their returns if they choose to file online. If returns are filed in the traditional post, the deadline will be May 7th.
Those liable for the tax will be obliged to indicate whether they accept a valuation from the Revenue or if they would prefer to provide an alternative valuation which will be grouped into €50,000 bands.
People will be able to submit lower assessments but could subsequently be liable to penalties if they are found to be too low. The Revenue Commissioners will publish an electoral area survey of property values so people can compare their own assessment with the general level of valuations in their area.
A major information campaign about the tax will get under way this morning.