Kenny insists nobody has to pay property tax until 2014
Joan Burton says Revenue must communicate to homeowners that payment is not due immediately
Taoiseach Enda Kenny who said last night that: ‘nobody, and I repeat nobody, is required to pay the 2014 property tax in 2013.’
Stephen Collins, Political Editor
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted that nobody will have to pay their property tax for next year until 2014.
Attending the Fine Gael presidential dinner in Dublin last night he declined to follow the line adopted by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore who has called on the Revenue Commissioners to take another look at the payment deadlines.
Instead Mr Kenny backed the right of the Revenue Commissioners to implement the property tax as they saw fit.
“The Government decide what policy is, the Revenue Commissioners implement and enforce that policy,” he told journalists on his arrival at the dinner.
“Nobody, and I repeat nobody, is required to pay the 2014 property tax in 2013 but I would encourage as many people as possible to use the options, of which there are up to six, to ensure that they pay their property tax in 2014,” he said.
Asked directly about Mr Gilmore’s comments the Taoiseach said: “The Tánaiste reflects the opinion that the Government and the Dáil are an entirely separate matter. Government decide what policy is.
“The Dáil legislates for that policy and the Revenue Commissioners, an entirely independent body and rightly so, implement that policy,” he said.
The chairman of the Finance Committee Ciaran Lynch said today he planned to invite Revenue Commission boss Josephine Feehily to appear before it to discuss the structure, timing and operation of the scheme.
“The purpose of the meeting is to deal with any ambiguities or concerns in regard to the payment of the local property tax, and in some circumstances to establish how the issue of premature payments is dealt with, and also to discuss how the payment of the local property tax is made when it is actually due,” Mr Lynch said.
“The concerns that I have heard expressed by the public over the last couple of weeks are not an issue of compliancy, but an issue of a requirement for good customer services, in which people who wish to pay the tax want to make the payment when the payment falls due.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Week in Politics today, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said Revenue had acted appropriately by sending letters about the property tax in advance, but that it was important they communicate to people that the tax will not have to be paid until next year.
“The Revenue is telling people of the payment arrangements well in advance, and it is appropriate of the Revenue to do that. But nobody has to pay until 2014.”
Ms Burton said the language used in the letter from Revenue was quite technical and may have confused people.
On the same programme, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins accused the Government of unfairly blaming Revenue for unclear legislation which was rushed through the Dáil.
“[The Government] gave Revenue these powers, they lashed this legislation through the Dáil, they wouldn’t allow any time to consider it. Now they are attempting to hang the blame for everything on Revenue having given Revenue these powers.”
Later in Mr Kenny’s speech to the 1,200 people who attended the dinner in DoubleTree Hilton Hotel (formerly the Burlington) last night, Mr Kenny suggested Ireland would not necessarily require a precautionary backstop agreement when the country exits the EU/IMF bailout on December 15th.
“In whatever way we exit this programme and whatever decision our government makes, and we will make it in the interest of the people when we exit that programme we are entitled as a member of the euro zone to the security of the €500 million fund that was created with the ESM and that security is available to all other euro zone countries as well.
“It entitles us to have as that backstop a security that lies ahead of us when we exit the programme on December 15th,” said Mr Kenny.