Revenue to track down property tax evaders

Josephine Feehily, the chairwoman of the Revenue Commissioners, at yesterday's briefing on the local property tax. Ms Feehily said she would be disappointed if Revenue did not achieve a compliance level of "several percentage points north of 80 per cent" by the end of the year. photograph: david sleator

Josephine Feehily, the chairwoman of the Revenue Commissioners, at yesterday's briefing on the local property tax. Ms Feehily said she would be disappointed if Revenue did not achieve a compliance level of "several percentage points north of 80 per cent" by the end of the year. photograph: david sleator

Fri, Mar 8, 2013, 00:00

Revenue has warned that it will deduct the property tax directly from the salary, pension or bank accounts of evaders who do not co-operate with the taxation authority.

“People can only judge for themselves Revenue’s record for pursuing people. We have a very extensive register. We have very extensive data. We will pursue. We’ve done it in the past,” said Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily.

Asked whether Revenue would be able to ferret out a landlord notionally named “Mick” who might seek to evade payment of the tax, Ms Feehily expressed confidence that such individuals will be tracked down.

Finding Mick

“We are compiling this data base from all Revenue sources – and stamp duty and property purchase records – so we will find Mick,” she said.

“We mightn’t find him in this output if he’s really too far under the radar but I assure you before the end of year we’ll have found Mick.”

Ms Feehily said she would be disappointed if Revenue did not achieve a compliance level of “several percentage points north of 80 per cent” by the end of the year.

Deferred payments

She was unable to provide any precise figure beyond the €250 million budget target for collection this year because Revenue did not know what proportion of owners would opt to defer payment.

Setting out how the new collection system will operate, Ms Feehily acknowledged yesterday that correspondence may be sent in error to some individuals as Revenue writes to the owners of some 1.66 million properties in the next four weeks. “This is a new tax. The first thing we have to do is deal with ordinary situations and get the ordinary situation managed and in the process before we worry about the outliers and then we’ll get to the outliers,” she told reporters at a briefing.

Revenue letters

“If a person gets a letter and they are not the owners, they should contact Revenue immediately to tell us who the owner is so that we can correct the register. If they don’t, we will continue to connect them to that property.”

The package sent to most property owners will include a personalised letter, a tax return form and an official guide to the new tax.

Revenue will set out in this correspondence an estimate for the tax due on the property in question. However, this is a general estimate only. The owner can displace the Revenue figure once the estimate self-assessed by the owner is based on an honest and realistic reflection of market value.

Revenue will tell property owners to consult its website – revenue.ie– which will provide access from next weekend to an online valuation guide which maps every area in the State.

The estimates in this guide will be set out according to the type of property, whether a detached or semi-detached house or apartment, for example, in each local electoral district and the date of construction.

The indicative valuations set out in this guide are based on information gleaned from the stamp duty paid on more than 34,000 property transactions in the past three years and advice from professional valuers and the National Asset Management Agency.