Revenue confident a register of homes liable for property tax will be ready for July
The Revenue Commissioners have expressed confidence there will be a complete register of the 1.6 million-plus households liable for local property tax by the time the new charge becomes payable in July this year.
Revenue has indicated it will use additional powers under property tax legislation to obtain information from utility providers such as gas and electricity companies that will supplement its own database.
It will also use registry data from last year’s household charge, data from the non-principal private residence annual charge, and information supplied by the private residential tenancies boards.
“This will allow us to contact liable persons in March 2013,” stated Revenue on its website, indicating the register will be completed by the end of 2013 and virtually all residential properties in the State will be captured.
The disclosure suggests that Revenue will overcome one of the obstacles faced by the Local Government Management Agency when administering the €100 household charge last year – absence of a comprehensive database of all residential properties.
Every household liable for the new property tax will be contacted in March and supplied with a comprehensive information booklet about how to file the tax return on the property or properties owned. It will include Revenue’s estimate of the amount of tax due on the property.
But Revenue emphasised yesterday that it expects people to self-assess what their property is worth and what they owe in stamp duty.
They suggest they could base this on the register of residential property sales, published by the Property Services Regulatory Authority. The information is based on the Revenue’s own data on stamp duty.
However, if a person fails to submit a return, Revenue’s estimate of the tax will become payable by default, when it falls due on July 1st.
“The estimate will automatically be displaced on submission of the return containing the self-assessed amount,” says Revenue.
Householders will have to file the property tax return to Revenue by May 7th – or May 28th if filing electronically.
A Revenue spokeswoman said yesterday that Revenue would accept the self-assessed value if the figure was arrived at in an honest manner. “If you follow Revenue’s guidance honestly, we will accept your property value assessment. If Revenue has reason to believe that the amount you have declared on your return does not reflect the market value of your property, we may raise an assessment for a different amount.”
If a household does not agree with the assessment made by Revenue, it has the right to go to the Appeals Commissioner.
However, the spokeswoman said Revenue did not expect, initially, to challenge values other than in a small number of cases: “The focus of Revenue’s initial compliance programme is likely to be on making sure the register is as complete as possible.”
Penalties for those who fail to pay the tax will be as severe as for other forms of tax default. “If you don’t send back the LPT return form and your self-assessment of your tax liability, the tax set out in the Revenue estimate will be collected using normal collection or enforcement options – deduction at source, sheriff, court action, attachment orders,” according to the website.
“Interest and penalties may also apply. In circumstances where standard enforcement is not applied for whatever reason, then a charge will be put on your property. You won’t be able to sell it without paying the tax together with interest and, where appropriate, penalties.”
The website does not state if a house similar to others on a street but where substantial improvements had been carried out would attract a higher tax, but the implication is that it would.
The assessment of the value of the house will remain until 2016, irrespective of any changes in the market or any improvements on the property.
That suggests that improvements, extensions or alterations carried out prior to 2013 will affect the value of the property for tax purposes.
Householders will pay the tax for only six months in 2013. That will cost €202 this year (€404 in a subsequent full year) for a house worth €200,000-€250,000.