Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (173)

Michael McGrath


173. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the reason he is proposing in the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013 that persons who own more than one residential property must pay and file the tax online; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9549/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The requirement for owners of multiple properties to file and pay their Local Property Tax (LPT) electronically is contained in section 44 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a significant number of multiple property owners are already obliged, by virtue of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, to pay and file their tax returns electronically, and section 44 is in keeping with Revenue’s strategic objective to encourage the use of electronic channels. Revenue has developed a secure on-line system for filing LPT Returns that is user friendly and easily accessible on the Revenue website. From the taxpayer’s perspective, using the on-line system is the quickest and most straightforward way to complete and submit their LPT Returns, particularly so where there are multiple properties involved, as the system automatically calculates the LPT due for the individual properties, makes it easy to select a payment method from the wide range of options available, and provides immediate access to Revenue’s on-line valuation guide. In addition, property owners who file their LPT Returns on-line will also benefit from a three-week extended filing deadline to 28 May 2013.

I am further advised that, from the results of the 2011 Census, produced by the CSO, internet penetration levels in households in the State are at 75%, and for those property owners who do not have internet access, they can use the internet facilities available in Revenue offices or in their local library.

Furthermore, section 36 of the Act allows a Return to be made by any person authorised to do so by a liable person. For example, a property owner may authorise a relative such as their son or daughter to complete and submit their Returns on-line and confirm the method of payment. I am informed that from their discussions with the Local Government Management Agency in connection with customer preferences regarding the Household Charge, the Revenue Commissioners understand that this latter approach was favoured in a significant number of cases.

Finally, the decision not to have to issue multiple LPT Returns to these owners will help achieve certain efficiencies and cost savings.