Household charge paid by 110,000
Only a fraction of the projected income from the controversial €100 household charge has been raised so far, it was confirmed today.
New figures from the Local Government Management Agency, which is charged with collecting the fee, show that over €10 million has been received to date from 109,569 households.
Some 1.6 million households are liable for the charge, which was introduced in January. It is expected to raise an estimated €160 million which will be used to fund local services.
Householders have until March 31st to pay the charge, after which financial penalties apply on an increasing basis each month.
The charge was introduced on foot of the EU-IMF bailout agreement and is an interim measure pending the future introduction of a comprehensive property tax.
All owners of residential property are liable for the household charge on each residential property they own,. This includes those properties that are liable for the €200 charge on second homes. Owners of residential properties who live outside Ireland are also required to register for and pay the household charge.
Householders living in designated ghost estates and those receiving mortgage interest supplement as well as people living in local authority housing, are all exempt from the charge.
Approximately 80 per cent of registered properties so far have been paid by credit ordebit card and by direct debit online at householdcharge.ie. Payment can also be made by cheque or postal order at local authority offices.
The agency managing the collection of the charge has appealed to householders to register and pay the fee as soon as possible.
Chief executive of the Local Government Management Agency Paul McSweeney said that as with the €200 charge on second homes, which was introduced three years ago, there was a noticeable increase in people paying the charge as the deadline for payment approached. "The nearer we get to the date at which penalties will apply, the numbers of people paying the charge increases," he said.
The charge can be paid in four instalments of €25 by setting up a direct debit online before March 1st.
The trade union Siptu last week called on the Government to suspend the imposition of the charge, saying it was unfair and regressive and subsidises the wealthy at the expense of middle- and low-income families.
In addition, a number of independent opposition TDs and groups have called on the public to boycott the charge.