Property tax wrongly taken from accounts weeks before Christmas

About 1,500 homeowners receive refunds and apologies after €830,000 taken in error

Some homeowners were hit with local property tax  weeks before Christmas, despite having made direct debit arrangements with Revenue for the sums to be deducted next year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Some homeowners were hit with local property tax weeks before Christmas, despite having made direct debit arrangements with Revenue for the sums to be deducted next year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Revenue has apologised to about 1,500 people after wrongly taking hundreds of thousands of euro from their bank accounts over recent days as a result of a “payment processing” error.

Homeowners were unexpectedly hit with their local property tax (LPT) weeks before Christmas, despite having made direct debit arrangements with Revenue for the sums to be deducted next year.

The Irish Times has learned that more than €830,000 was taken from bank accounts in error.

Revenue said it was in currently contacting the affected taxpayers who had money removed from their accounts over recent days.

One impacted person, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had signed up to the annual direct debit arrangement on Tuesday, which should have meant she did not have to pay until next March.

“I got a call from Revenue on Thursday to say unfortunately there was a glitch in the computer system and the money was taken out immediately,” she said.

Problem ‘resolved’

“They asked me if I wanted to leave it as is – and I will have paid early – or they could refund it.

“I opted for the refund, because it is coming up to Christmas and I wouldn’t have that to spare.”

She was advised it would take three to four working days before the money was reimbursed.

Revenue said the the problem had been “fully resolved” and that it would refund any fees or charges imposed on bank customers as a result of its error.

“Revenue is now in the process of contacting, and returning the payments to, the affected customers.”

A Revenue spokeswoman said “22 per cent of customers have confirmed they do not wish to receive a refund, 24 per cent of refunds have been approved on Thursday, while it is expected a further 52 per cent will be approved today.

“If affected customers are charged fees, or other charges, as a direct result of this issue, a refund of the amount charged will also be made.”

The Revenue spokeswoman added: “While the issue is now fully resolved, Revenue has acknowledged, and sincerely apologised for, the inconvenience caused to the affected customers.”