Local property tax Q&A
Deadline for filing local property tax returns falls at midnight
Q: What is all this talk about a deadline for the filing of the local property tax? I could have sworn the deadline had already passed.
A: The deadline for homeowners filing the local property tax return online falls at midnight tonight. An earlier deadline for those filing by post fell on May 7th.
Q: But I thought I didn’t have to pay my local property tax until July 1st?
A: That’s right. But while payment of the property tax doesn’t fall due until July, homeowners must register beforehand.
Q: What if I don’t have access to the internet or have questions around paying online?
A: Revenue has extended its helpline hours today to 8am to 10pm to help people with any questions they have. Those who do not have internet access or who are having difficulty filling out the online form can also contact Revenue on 1890 200 255 where officials are on hand to file the return on their behalf. Those who wish to file in this way are asked to have their property details, property tax letter, PPS number and preferred payment option and relevant details (such as bank account number or credit/debit card details)to hand.
Q: Who decides how much my house is worth?
A: The property tax is based on the homeowner’s assessment of how much the property is worth. Although Revenue has provided an estimate - an average valuation for properties in a particular area - it is up to the property owner to revise this estimate upwards or downwards as appropriate. If homeowners do not do so the Revenue estimate will stand. However, the estimate will only come into play if you don’t make your own assessment and send in a return.
How much tax must be paid on a property depends on what valuation band the property falls into.
Q: What if I haven’t received a property tax letter from Revenue?
A: The obligation rests with the homeowner, therefore those who have not received a return form are still liable for the tax and must file a return. Homeowners who have not received a letter from Revenue can file online on revenue.ie or by ringing 1890 200 255.
Vivienne Dempsey, local property tax project manager with the Revenue Commissioners, has said that there is an “inevitability” around payment of the property tax as homeowners cannot sell or transfer their property without showing that the local property tax has been paid at which point the tax will be recouped and an annual rate of 8 per cent interest and penalties may also be incurred.
Q: What happens if I don’t pay?
A: Revenue have the power to apply a mandatory deduction of the property tax at source, meaning it can deduct the money from a person’s wages, occupational pension or from certain payments from the Department of Social Protection or Department of Agriculture. It can also move to deduct monies owed from a person’s bank account using an attachment order or can refer the debt to a sheriff or solicitor for payment.
Interest at an annual rate of 8 per cent and penalties may also apply. Those who do not pay the local property tax will be unable to sell the property without paying the tax, interest and any penalties due.
If you are self-assessed and fail to pay the tax, Revenue will not issue you with a tax clearance certificate.
Q: Are there any exemptions from the tax?
A: Yes. The exemptions that have received the most attention are properties with pyrite damage and those in specified “ghost estates”. Other exemptions include properties constructed and owned by a builder or developer which remain unsold and which have not yet been used as a residence; residential properties owned by a charity or public body; properties which are fully subject to commercial rates; mobile homes, vehicles and vessels; diplomatic properties and registered nursing homes.
Properties purchased, built or adapted for permanently and totally incapacitated individuals and properties where the person is no longer resident due to a long-term mental or physical infirmity are also exempt subject to certain conditions being met. New and previously unused properties that are purchased from a builder or developer between January 1st, 2013 and October 31st, 2016 will be exempt until the end of 2016 as is the case with properties purchased by first-time buyers up to December 31st 2013.
Q: If I qualify for an exemption do I still need to register?
A: Yes. Homeowners must complete a return indicating the applicable exemption by midnight.
Q: Can I defer payment of the tax?
A: Homeowners can defer or partially defer the local property tax in certain circumstances including where a person’s income is below a predetermined income threshold. Deferrals may also apply in cases where personal insolvency and hardship grounds apply. Personal representatives of deceased persons whose properties have not been transferred or sold within three years of the person’s death may also apply for a deferral until the property is transferred or sold or until three years have passed. The deferred tax remains a charge on the property until the property is sold or transferred to another person. Interest will be charged on deferred amounts at a rate of 4 per cent per annum.
Q: If I qualify for a deferral or partial deferral do I still need to register?
A: Yes. Further information on deferrals can be found at revenue.ie or by calling 1890 200 255.
Q: How can I pay?
A: There are a number of payment options open to property owners. They can pay electronically through their bank or other financial institution; via direct debit; using their credit or debit card; by cash through An Post, Omnivend or Payzone; or by deduction at source from their salary or pension or from certain payments received from the Department of Social Protection or the Department of Agriculture. The property tax can be paid in full or in phased payments for which there is no additional charge. Phased payments can be made from July to December.