Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (94)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

94. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if improvements will be made to the local property tax department in the Revenue Commissioners to ensure that any concerns regarding payment are responded to quickly and efficiently (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45300/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the introduction of Local Property Tax (LPT), which was the largest extension of the self-assessment system in its history, has been a major administrative challenge. On response times, Revenue strives to respond to all correspondence and contacts within its customer service standards, i.e., 30 days. However, as LPT is a new tax it was inevitable that there would be exceptional temporary pressures at stages of the initial implementation and it was always going to be difficult for Revenue to meet service demands. To put the scale of the task into perspective, since early March 2013 Revenue has processed approximately 1.59 million LPT Returns, lodged in excess of €200 million to the Exchequer, answered in excess of 500,000 phone calls and replied to approximately 200,000 letters/emails. In the circumstances, Revenue has done a very good job, in my view.

On the specific case mentioned by the Deputy, I am advised that the refund arose when a second payment arrangement was made by the owner of the property without cancelling the original arrangement. The situation was further complicated when the individual, who is a multiple property owner, sent other correspondence to Revenue on the revaluation upwards of another property. The letter for the second property was inadvertently associated with the refund request on the basis of a common property identification number which led to a delay in dealing with the refund request.

Once Revenue had fully clarified all the issues concerning the various properties linked to the property owner, a refund was approved and was issued on 1 October.