Who is liable for the “Local Property Tax”?
The owner of almost every residential property. Exemptions are similar to those under the household tax.
How will the Revenue Commissioners know who the owner is?
Revenue will use the data from the household tax and various other sources. In March they will send out a notice to all people they believe to be liable.
How much is the Property Tax?
0.18% of the value up to €1million. Homes will be divided into “market value bands” of €50,000 e.g. €150,001-€200,000. The tax due will be calculated on the mid-point of the band your home falls into.
How is the value of my home assessed?
The notice from the Revenue will contain an estimate of the value of your home. You can either accept that valuation or give your own assessment based on guidelines provided by Revenue.
What happens if I don’t return the form?
Revenue will presume their estimate of your home’s value to be correct and can proceed to deduct the tax directly from your wages/social welfare/pension/farm payments etc.
What should I do with the Revenue notice?
Do nothing, boycott the registration process and refuse to comply. If hundreds of thousands of people do likewise, it will create a political crisis for the government. This can be an important rock upon which massive political pressure and possible industrial action can be built to force the government to scrap this tax.
What are the penalties?
If you do not return the form you could be levied with a penalty equal to the value of the property tax you are liable for
I’m self-employed. Are there any implications for getting tax clearance cert?
Revenue won’t issue a tax clearance cert to anyone who doesn’t comply. Self- employed people may also incur a surcharge up to the amount of your property tax liability.
Can I defer payment?
Yes, but only if your family income falls below a certain level. The criteria for a deferral are extremely narrow. Deferred payments are subject to an interest charge of 4% per annum.
What about my unpaid household tax from last year?
Unpaid household tax will be capped at €130 if paid before 30th April. If not paid by 1st July, it will be increased to €200 and added to your property tax.
Is it a criminal offence to boycott the registration of the property tax?
No. The majority of single home owners defied legal threats and forced the government back on the household tax. Now, instead of a criminal offence, they want to take it from our wages. If we stick together, this threat can also be beaten.
The government have given the Revenue Commissioners draconian powers to collect this tax. It is only by a campaign of massive political protest that they can be beaten.
What if a young person who doesn’t own the house receives a letter from the Revenue?
In many cases, young people who don’t own properties have been sent Local Property Tax returns by the Revenue Commissioners for the property tax. We would recommend that whoever receives the letter doesn’t engage in any correspondence with the Revenue Commissioners but ignores it.
Legally speaking, the situation is as follows. Only the person who is the owner of the property (as defined in the legislation) is liable for the tax. The legislation does give Revenue the right to attempt to deduct the property tax from someone they send a notice to and don’t get a response from, on the basis that they presume they are liable. However, they will be able to appeal after the event, show that they don’t own the property, and get a refund of the money.
What if my property is overvalued in the Revenue notice?
In some cases, the estimates that Revenue has sent out are overvaluations. People may be tempted to engage with Revenue in order to lower the valuation and the tax. However, if you join in the boycott of the process together with hundreds of thousands of others, and Revenue do deduct the tax regardless, you would still be able to reduce the tax and receive a refund at that time. There is a provision for you to apply to Revenue for a refund of the excess amount you have paid over the true value of the property. Therefore, don’t be tempted to engage with Revenue just because they have overvalued your property.
26.— (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, where a person has, in respect of a liability date, paid, whether directly or by deduction, an amount of local property tax which is not due from that person or which, but for an error or mistake in a return or statement made by the person for the purposes of an assessment to local property tax, would not have been due from the person, the person shall be entitled to repayment of the local property tax so paid.
(2) The Revenue Commissioners shall not make a repayment of the local property tax referred to in subsection (1) unless:
(a) a claim for repayment has been made to them,
(b) the claim for repayment referred to in paragraph (a) is made within 4 years after the end of the year in which the liability date in respect of which the payment was made falls,
(c) a true and complete return has been prepared and delivered under Part 7 , and
(d) all the information that the Revenue Commissioners may reasonably require to enable them determine if and to what extent a repayment to local property tax is due to the person has been provided to them.
(3) Where the Revenue Commissioners make a repayment of local property tax, they may repay any such amount directly into an account, specified by the person to whom the amount is due, in a financial institution.
(4) Where a liable person is aggrieved by a decision of the Revenue Commissioners on a claim to repayment by the person, insofar as the decision is made by reference to any provision of this section, the person may appeal to the Appeal Commissioners against the decision and the appeal shall be heard as if it were an appeal against a Revenue assessment and Part 9 shall apply accordingly.
If taken to court and if found guilty, a judge has the power to impose a Class C fine to a maximum of €2,500. There is currently no law allowing this to be taken from your income or social welfare.
Any successful legal challenges will make the government re-think their strategy. But it is ultimately the power of protest that will force abolition of the tax. Mass meetings would be organised and huge community pressure put on the politicians standing over household tax prosecutions. As things develop, if we find that we are making the same legal case in all courts, it may not be necessary to have solicitors at every case. Campaign volunteers will be briefed on the legal points and will accompany those summonsed to court.