Revenue ‘on top of’ property tax issue, Noonan says
Cabinet discusses controvesy on early payment for card-payers
Revenue is ‘on top of’ the issues that have arisen over the payment of the property tax, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said. Photograph: Dara MacDomhnaill/The Irish Times
Revenue is “on top of” the issues that have arisen over the payment of the property tax, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said.
He was speaking ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting over how to resolve the controversy surrounding the requirement for early payment of the 2014 property tax by people using credit or debit cards.
“Revenue have been very good at collecting the property taxes,” Mr Noonan sadi. “They made good arrangements last year. They will work their way though it. It would be better if we hadn’t the controversy this week. I think the Revenue are now on top of it.”
Audio: Noonan on Property Tax
Mr Noonan said the issue arose for those who wanted to pay in a lump sum but did not want to pay this year. However, they had the option of going online and paying in a single sum from their bank account in 2014 from March 21st, he said. Anyone who has a debit or credit card also has a bank account, he added.
Mr Noonan met the chairman of the Revenue Commissioners Josephine Feehily last night in a meeting intended to agree on how best to clear up the confusion caused to householders.
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said today that “clarity” had largely been brought to the property tax issue.
Mr Howlin said Revenue had been trying to accommodate as many different perspectives as possible. “If that caused confusion that’s unfortunate,” he said. “We need bring clarity to that which I think largely has been done now.”
He had been asked about advertisements which Revenue placed in this morning’s newspapers explaining how people can pay the the tax. The adverts read: “You don’t have to pay your 2014 Local Property Tax before Christmas but you do need to tell us how you want to pay by 7 November on paper or 27 November online” .
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said today that he welcomed Mr Noonan’s meeting with Revenue officials.
“The important issue here is that the taxpayer is facilitated. This is a new tax. It is important every effort made to facilitate the compliant taxpayer,” he said.
The Coalition parties were at odds ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting over how to resolve the controversy.
Mr Noonan and his Fine Gael colleagues have remained adamant there is no question of the deadline for payment by credit and debit cards being changed from November this year. They have made it clear that if people do not want to pay until 2014, they should use one of the alternative payment methods.
Labour Ministers, including Mr Gilmore, have indicated the problem runs deeper than communications. The Tánaiste has said no taxpayer should be asked to pay a 2014 tax in 2013.
Labour Ministers have asked Revenue to revisit the issue, indicating their preference to see the payment date moved to the new year.
The possibility of extending the deadline is also likely to be explored when Ms Feehily appears before the Oireachtas finance committee on Thursday.
The deadline for homeowners to indicate their payment method is November 27th. If they choose to pay by credit or debit card, Revenue has said it must take the payment immediately because it cannot retain card details on account of data protection laws.
This early payment requirement has led to widespread protests from householders, the majority of whom (53 per cent, or more than 800,000 people) used credit and debit cards to pay their 2013 property tax.