FEA­TURE

There is a cer­tain level of con­fu­sion out there sur­round­ing the en­tire phe­nom­e­non of Lo­cal Prop­erty Tax

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - PROPERTY -

Al­ready, 60,000 peo­ple have paid their Prop­erty Tax

he Lo­cal Prop­erty Tax is upon us and it is payable by all own­ers of res­i­den­tial prop­erty in Ire­land. The tax can be paid over time or in one lump sum and there are de­fer­rals for those on lower in­comes and ex­emp­tions in spe­cial cases as out­lined be­low.

The Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers’ com­pre­hen­sive web­site (www.rev­enue.ie) car­ries a good deal of help­ful in­for­ma­tion on the is­sue. It’s kept well up to date and there is also an in­ter­ac­tive map that will help you to self-as­sess your tax li­a­bil­ity.

Be­cause it’s a new tax and be­cause so many con­flict­ing words have been spo­ken about it in the me­dia, there is a cer­tain level of con­fu­sion out there sur­round­ing the en­tire phe­nom­e­non of Lo­cal Prop­erty Tax. The num­ber of calls to the LPT Helpline (1890 200 255) has been in­creas­ing as the dead­line draws nearer and there have been ap­prox­i­mately 60,000 re­turns filed to date from the 1.3 mil­lion or so LPT1 re­turn forms is­sued.

One of the prin­ci­pal aims of the Rev­enue in the first year of the LPT is to es­tab­lish an ac­cu­rate data­base of properties and prop­erty own­ers.

TThis doesn’t ex­ist as things stand and it is the rea­son why LPT re­turns forms and let­ters from the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers are be­ing sent to oc­cu­piers who don’t own properties in some cases. But the tax is only payable by the own­ers. In the ques­tio­nand-an­swer for­mat be­low, we aim to clar­ify some of the most com­mon mis­con­cep­tions and fears about the LPT.

Who is Li­able?

Own­ers of Ir­ish res­i­den­tial prop­erty, whether res­i­dent in Ire­land or not So­cial hous­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties that own and pro­vide so­cial hous­ing Lessees with a longterm res­i­den­tial lease of 20 years or more Any­one with a lifein­ter­est in a res­i­den­tial prop­erty An ex­ecu­tor or per­sonal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a de­ceased owner Trus­tees, where a prop­erty is held in trust

What do I do if I’m a ten­ant and I re­ceive a prop­erty tax re­turn, or a let­ter re­quest­ing me to as­sess and pay Lo­cal Prop­erty Tax for which

I’m not li­able?

Get in touch with the Rev­enue im­me­di­ately on 1890 200255 and ex­plain to them the sit­u­a­tion, in­di­cat­ing who the owner is. Don’t ig­nore the let­ter as this may be in­ter­preted by the Rev­enue as you be­ing the li­able owner.

Where do the

taxes go?

The LPT is ad­min­is­tered by the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers in Dublin, then handed over to the Ex­che­quer. A Rev­enue spokesper­son as­sured me that it is a lo­cal tax that will ul­ti­mately find its way to your lo­cal au­thor­ity. It is in­tended that 80% of monies col­lected is to be given di­rectly to the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. The re­main­ing 20% is to be re­tained in the national Lo­cal Govern­ment Fund, which will con­tinue to pro­vide fund­ing to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties “on a needs and re­sources” ba­sis, who use the money to fund lo­cal ser­vices such as roads, lo­cal hous­ing, wa­ter and sewage.

What is the dead­line?

May 7th, 2013 for fil­ing by post and May 28th, 2013 for fil­ing on­line.

When is the money

payable?

For those pay­ing the amount in a sin­gle pay­ment, the pay date is July 21st. Those who opt for phased pay­ments at source must start pay­ing on July 1st while those pay­ing by di­rect debit must be ready to pay by July 15th. (Note: May 1st is the own­er­ship date this year, while Novem­ber 1st is the date that ap­plies to next year’s full-year tax)

Do I have to file

on­line?

You only have to file on­line if you’re a mul­ti­ple prop­erty owner. Ev­ery­one else has the op­tion of fil­ing in the tra­di­tional man­ner by post. If you have any dif­fi­culty fil­ing on­line, you can get as­sis­tance from your lo­cal Rev­enue of­fice (there are four re­gions al­to­gether with an of­fice cov­er­ing each re­gion) or nom­i­nate some­one to file on your be­half.

Who as­sesses your

tax li­a­bil­ity?

Your­self — it’s a self­assessed tax.

What if I over-as­sess

my li­a­bil­ity?

The Rev­enue say that they don’t ex­pect spot-on ac­cu­racy and they have a sys­tem of bands into which your prop­erty may fall — de­lib­er­ately so as plac­ing an ac­cu­rate value

One of the prin­ci­pal aims of the Rev­enue in the first year of the LPT is to es­tab­lish an ac­cu­rate data­base of properties and prop­erty own­ers.

on one prop­erty is not an ex­act science. The Fi­nance (Lo­cal Prop­erty Tax) Act of 2012 does pro­vide for a re­fund of tax over­paid, so if you make an er­ror in your re­turn and over­pay, you can ap­ply for a re­fund.

What if I un­der-as­sess

my li­a­bil­ity?

Rev­enue have ex­pressed their in­ten­tion to get the LPT up and run­ning this year and that it doesn’t en­vis­age chas­ing down peo­ple for the last penny.

Ac­cord­ing to a Rev­enue spokesper­son, “pro­vided the orig­i­nal val­u­a­tion was hon­estly and rea­son­ably ar­rived at, you will have no prob­lem.”

Do I need a pro­fes­sional val­uer?

You don’t.

The Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers say that they ex­pect peo­ple to as­sess their own li­a­bil­ity and do not ex­pect peo­ple to pay a pro­fes­sional val­uer to carry out this func­tion.

Ex­emp­tions

First-time buy­ers of prop­erty in 2013 are ex­empt for four years Pur­chasers of “new and unused prop­erty from a builder or de­vel­oper” as a main res­i­dence are ex­empt for four years Un­sold hous­ing stock of a builder or de­vel­oper Properties sit­u­ated in un­fin­ished hous­ing es­tates as spec­i­fied Properties that are va­cated by the owner due to a long-term men­tal or phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity Other properties listed that in­clude properties owned by char­i­ties, mo­bile homes, ves­sels, properties en­tirely sub­ject to com­mer­cial rates, homes with sig­nif­i­cant pyritic dam­age, nurs­ing homes, diplo­matic prop­erty and prop­erty in­volved in pro­bate cases.

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