The NPPR late payment trap

 

Sir, – I’m an innocent casualty of the Non Principal Private Residence late payment trap, having only recently been made aware of the tax.

While registering and attempting to pay, I was astounded to discover a bill for €3,240 of which two-thirds is the “late payment fee”. Discussions with the NPPR team, and my local authority have left me dismayed and dumbfounded introduction, and frustrated with it’s administrative inflexibility. Despite having a genuine reason for not knowing of the NPPR (living abroad), I was not informed by letter in the first instance, nor of any late payment penalties, and subsequent anniversary payments. It’s nothing but a disgrace that such stealth fees are charged, with no contact with the household, or warning of late charges.

Should a commercial enterprise act in this way, there’d be a public outrage, with consumer groups and government bodies closing it down immediately.

I do not have the means to challenge this, but if taken to the highest court, I’m sure the NPPR late payment system would fail.  Anyone in a similar position could eventually face a late fee charge of over €15,000, which might be the incentive to mount a challenge.

I have raised my situation with councillors, the Minister, the Ombudsman, lawyers, and many others; most agree that the late payment charges in this case are unfair, should be waived, or at a minimum adjusted. My attempts to pay all the back NPPR (€1,000) was refused, as was a proposal to pay the total amount by instalments.  The excuse being that the legislation does not provide these options. Just because “its in the legislation” doesn’t mean it is right in practice.

The law of common sense and fair play have failed. Such inflexibility is infuriating, and the inability to negotiate a satisfactory result most disappointing. The late payment fee is substantial; it is money that won’t be spent in local shops, supermarkets, and restaurants, which I believe is badly needed in today’s flaccid economy. Nor will I see the benefit of street lighting, rubbish collection and the like in my local, island community. Unfortunately this has turned out to be a tax on the honest, paying for this Government’s laziness and gross incompetence.

I’ve been a homeowner in Ireland since 2003, and cannot believe they don’t know where I live. –   Yours, etc,

DAVID PROWSE,

Sherkin Island,

Baltimore,

Co Cork.