I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a wide range of different payment options have been put in place to assist people in meeting their Local Property Tax (LPT) obligations, including phased payments and the facility to pay by cash. Revenue’s strategy in this regard is to ensure taxpayers have a choice of payment options available to them from which they can choose the method which is most suited to their individual circumstances. If the person in question is concerned about his/her ability to pay LPT in a single payment then he/she may wish to consider one of the phased payment options that spreads payment in instalments across the year. The various payment options are detailed in ‘Chapter 11’ of the Revenue booklet ‘Your guide to Local Property Tax’. For example, LPT can be deducted at source on a phased basis from salaries or occupational pensions or from certain payments from the Department of Social Protection. The Revenue Commissioners advise that, where deduction at source is chosen, there is no additional administration or interest charge.
Payments can also be made by direct debit from current accounts in banks and other financial institutions including credit unions. In addition, liable persons can avail of phased payment facilities through Revenue-approved third party payment service providers, which are An Post TaxPay, Payzone and Omnivend. These service providers, each of which has extensive nationwide outlets, will accept either full or phased payments in cash or by debit/credit cards. Charges are however imposed by the payment service providers on a per transaction basis. I am advised that An Post levies a charge of €1 per transaction, while Omnivend charges a fee of 4% per transaction. I understand that Payzone will be introducing the following charges this week: 75 cent per transaction for payments up to €50, €1 per transaction for payments between €50.01 and €100 and €2 per transaction for payments over €100.
The person in question may qualify for either a full or partial deferral of LPT as provided for by the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012. Chapter 12 of the Revenue booklet ‘ Your guide to Local Property Tax’ sets out in detail the various types of deferral that are available and Revenue has also published extensive guidelines on the various types of deferrals, including examples, on its website www.revenue.ie. To qualify for a deferral, the person’s residential property must be occupied by him/her as a sole or main residence. The income thresholds for a full deferral are €15,000 for a single person or widow/er and €25,000 for a couple, whether married persons, civil partners or cohabitants. An increased income threshold of 80% of mortgage interest payments may also apply if the person’s property is subject to a mortgage.
The Deputy should note that deferral is not an exemption. Payment of the tax is deferred, meaning that it becomes payable later and carries an interest charge at a rate of 4% per annum on all amounts of LPT that are deferred. Any deferred amount, including interest, will be a charge on the property and will have to be paid to Revenue on any future sale/transfer of the property.