Property valuation causing 'confusion' to thousands
TDs say advice given by Revenue is not good enough
Róisín Shortall said guidlines for property tax valuation is causing widespread confusion. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
There is widespread confusion in households across Ireland ahead of the property tax valuation deadline on May 1st, according to two backbench TDs.
Fianna Fáil’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen and former Labour junior minister Róisín Shortall are calling for clarity from the Government as homeowners are left in a state of confusion.
Revenue valuations are not always accurate and some homeowners are still unaware of the self assessment option in relation to the tax, Mr Cowen said.
“I have been contacted by many homeowners who are in this position and are confused about the options available to them,” he said.
Elderly people in particular are intimidated by the prospect of challenging Revenue and getting their own separate valuation. “I am calling on the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to come out and clearly state the right of homeowners to carry out a self-evaluation,” he said.
Ms Shortall, who resigned as Minister of State for Primary Care last year said Revenue Commissioners’ statistical model is leading to very crude results.
“Such obvious determinants of house price as the number of bedrooms, the number of reception rooms, the house condition or garden size were either imputed from area averages or did not form part of this model at all,” she said.
“It has led to some very crude results where many homes, particularly smaller homes, have not been accurately valued, and where, in some cases, there are significant inconsistencies between similar houses on the same street.”
Ms Shortall added that there is practically no guidance available to people who don’t or can’t use the internet.
The Office of the Revenue Commissioners defended its guidelines, with a spokeswoman saying the office ensured that people were informed.
“A comprehensive booklet providing detailed guidance on how the tax operates, the payment options available and step-by-step instructions on how to complete the return form is being delivered to property owners in the State. This booklet is also available on www.revenue.ie, in Citizens’ Information centres and Revenue information offices across the country,” she said.
“In addition, Revenue is engaging in an ongoing LPT [Local Property Tax] public communications campaign to ensure owners of residential property are aware of how the tax operates and their associated obligations.”
She added that local spokespeople are being provided for interview across the country.