Homeowners' guide to calculating and paying the new tax
Homeowners in a debt settlement or insolvency arrangement may also qualify for a deferral for the duration of that agreement.
There is also a three-year deferral for people handling the estates of deceased people.
Is anyone fully exempt?
Yes, but very few people.
Properties bought from developers since the beginning of this year will be exempt until 2016 if they have not yet been lived in.
People who have had to vacate a property, bought as their home, because of long-term illness are exempt, while people who own a house in ghost estates will not have to pay the tax.
Properties used by charities have been excluded once they are used for recreational purposes, while homes adapted for use by people with disabilities could be exempt if the property was grant-aided by the local authority.
Some householders whose homes are affected by pyrite will be exempt for three years.
I don’t fall into any of those categories but I don’t want to pay. What are my options?
None. Unlike the €100 household charge which many people put on the long finger or ignored, this tax will be policed much more assiduously.
If you don’t pay it, the Revenue has all manner of ways to get it from you.
It has the power to deduct it from your wages or have it taken out of your pension. It can go after your bank accounts. It can withhold tax clearance certs, tax refunds and can impose fines and penalties. In short, it is not to be messed with.
Fine! How do I pay?
There are a number of options.
You can pay online at revenue.ie. The taxman says this is the “quickest and most straightforward option to file your return”.
It does not say why anyone would want to pay their tax quickly, however. Using the online system you can pay by credit card – a bad idea because of the high rate of interest on credit card transactions – or by debit card (better).
You can also fill in your bank details on the letter you will get and pay in full or you can pay by direct debit.
Bear in mind that if you pay by direct debit you will incur charges imposed by your bank so a better, cheaper option would be to have the money taken from your salary by your employer.
Other payment methods include cheques and cash payments through the post office or possibly utility companies, although the latter has yet to be confirmed. In short, Revenue has come up with all manner of ways to help you pay up.
When will I have to pay?
There are a number of important dates to remember.
May 1st is the date on which the property will be valued and if you are paying using regular post, the tax will have to be paid by May 7th.
If you use the online system, you have until May 28th.
If you opt to have the payment deducted at source – by your employer – that will begin at the beginning of July, while if you decide to pay by direct debit the first payment will come out of your account in the middle of July.
Back up . . . the household charge? I forgot about that. If it is being scrapped and I haven’t paid it yet, am I in the clear?
Absolutely not. If you pay the household charge by April 30th, you will have the fee capped at €130 – the original charge plus €30 in arrears and penalties.
If the tax is still outstanding in July, it will be increased to €200 and added to the local property tax due on your property.
Who determines the value of my property?
Ultimately you, but you will get some help from the Revenue.
When you get your letter next week, there will be a suggested tax band for your house but the ultimate decision on which tax band your property will fall into falls into your hands.
You will be expected to take into account things like the state of your property, any extensions, home improvements or rowdy neighbours when determining the actual value.
Be warned, however, that you will be expected to tell the truth so if you assess your gorgeous three-storey over basement red-brick house on a leafy Rathgar avenue in Dublin to be worth just €100,000, there is a good chance you will get a visit from Revenue before you can say “audit? I don’t want an audit.”