The Revenue Commissioners have answered more than 700,000 telephone calls and replied to more than 200,000 letters or emails relating to the property tax since last March, Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach Paschal Donohoe has said.
Mr Donohoe told the Seanad last night that Revenue had acknowledged that exceptional delays in accessing the helpline, which was the primary contact point for property tax queries, were experienced by some callers in the days immediately following the issuing of the 2014 notifications in late October and early November.
“Access was also hampered on an intermittent basis on those days by technical issues in the service provider’s telephone system which have since been resolved,” he added.
Mr Donohoe said Revenue had decided, as they did last May, to extend the online property tax filing deadline until 5pm tomorrow. This would still allow Revenue time to implement the individual’s preferred payment option, he added.
The Minister of State was replying to Marie Moloney (Labour) who said the helpline was unable to deal with queries relating to the wrong payment or the reissuing of letters.
Mr Donohoe said Revenue had taken the property tax from concept to a fully functioning tax in a short period, including enacting legislation, building a brand new register, and the provision of a customer service to a large volume of taxpayers.
He was further advised, he said, it was difficult to anticipate service volumes, and the number of agents required, because it was a new tax. He said Revenue had ensured that significant extra resources were deployed to the helpline, with 310 agents handling telephone calls.
The helpline opening hours had also been extended.
Mr Donohoe said the helpline was operated by a private sector call service company Abtran.
While every effort was made to assist the public in complying with the property tax obligations, Revenue observed strict data protection standards and was obliged to maintain and protect the integrity of internal confidential records.