Property tax deadline extended as helpline inundated
Revenue confirms thousands contacted helpline each day this week and those who left message will be deemed to have met deadline
Revenue has answered over 750,000 property tax-related telephone calls and replied to more than 210,000 letters or emails since March. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Tens of thousands of householders trying to pay their property tax who tried unsuccessfully to reach the Revenue helpline in the past few days will not be penalised if they fail to file their returns by today’s online deadline.
Revenue has confirmed that it has been inundated with calls this week with almost 40,000 calls being handled in the last two days alone.
Taxpayers who had paid by single payment methods or by direct debit last year are required to file their returns for 2014 by today and also to specify their payment method.
As of last night, about 700,000 of the 960,000 households contacted by letter last month had filed their returns. However, many who had queries or who were unsure about aspects of the application had difficulties getting through to the Revenue helpline. Some 19,000 queries were handled on Monday and a similar number yesterday.
A spokeswoman for Revenue said last night that any taxpayer who failed to get through to the helpline and left a message will be deemed to have filed their returns on time, even if they fail to meet today’s deadline.
“Over the last couple of days, wait times have ranged from 18 seconds to 30 minutes,” she said.
“However, any taxpayer that has submitted a genuine query – whether by email, letter or voicemail to the helpline – in respect of their 2014 obligations in advance of the filing date will be treated as having complied with their requirements on time,” said the spokeswoman.
The introduction of Local Property Tax is the largest extension of the self-assessment system in the history of the State. It has presented an administrative challenge to the Revenue and has also attracted criticism after it emerged that those paying by credit or debit card would effectively have to pay both the 2013 and 2014 taxes in one calendar year.
Since March 2013, Revenue has answered over 750,000 telephone calls and replied to more than 210,000 letters or emails.
It said it took the new tax from the concept stage to a fully functioning tax in a very short period of time, including the enacting of legislation, the creation of a Property Register and the provision of customer service to such a large volume of taxpayers.
“Significant extra resources have been deployed to deal with the volumes and it is anticipated that backlogs will be worked in the coming weeks,” said the spokeswoman.
An additional half a million tax payers selected recurring methods of payment last year including salary deductions. They did not have to file returns for 2014 as they sanctioned continuing payments when filing last summer.