Coveney says there is no tension between coalition partners over local property tax

Confusion over payment times needs to be clarified as a matter of urgency, he says

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney today played down any suggestion of tension between Fine Gael and Labour over payment of the property tax and expressed confidence that confusion over payment dates would be clarified within the next 24 hours.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney today played down any suggestion of tension between Fine Gael and Labour over payment of the property tax and expressed confidence that confusion over payment dates would be clarified within the next 24 hours.

Mon, Nov 4, 2013, 16:13

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney today played down any suggestion of tension between Fine Gael and Labour over payment of the property tax and expressed confidence that confusion over payment dates would be clarified within the next 24 hours.

“I haven’t spoke to either the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste about this but I really don’t think there’s any tension there - people want this issue to be clarified in the consumer mind quickly so that the taxpayers understand what is being asked of them here,” said Mr Coveney.

Mr Coveney reiterated that no one was being asked to pay next year’s property tax this year but were simply being given the option by the Revenue Commissioners to pay it early as one of a series of payment options if they chose to do so.

“There has been some confusion in relation to different payment methods requiring different timelines for actually making payments and I think that’s been unfortunate and unhelpful because these are the kinds of things that irritate people.

“We have enough difficult decisions to both implement and take as a government without having these kind of unnecessary irritations for people - we need to clear this up quickly and I think people are trying to do that and I think Revenue will do it also.”

Asked if he believed the Revenue Commissioners should streamline the number of payment methods for paying the tax, Mr Coveney said he “wouldn’t dream of telling Revenue of how to do their job” but he believed the more options people had of paying the tax, the better.

“I think the confusion that exists needs to be clarified quickly that this is a tax that is due next year and can be paid next year and can be paid in multiple ways.”

Mr Coveney said he understood the reason why his Cork South Central colleague and Oireachtas Finance Committee Chairman, Ciaran Lynch invited the head of the Revenue Commissioners to attend a hearing on the issue but he believed it should be sorted out before then.

“I would hope it would be clarified long before then, I don’t think we need a long drawn out hearing process .... As I say, I don’t think there’s any tension in government on this and I expect this will be clarified and put to bed within the next 24 hours, I would say.”