Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (164)

John Lyons

Question:

164. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify with the Revenue Commissioners the reason residents in certain estates (details supplied) who were issued with an unfinished housing estates waiver for the household charge in 2012 are now being issued with non-payment letters from the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will instruct the Revenue Commissioners to make contact with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to clarify the waiver list. [20873/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

By way of background information, the Deputy will be aware that with effect from 1 July 2013, Section 156 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) converted Household Charge (HHC) to Local Property Tax (LPT), increased all outstanding liabilities from €100 to €200 and made Revenue responsible for the collection of those outstanding amounts.

As part of the handover of responsibility for the collection of the HHC, Revenue received the property database from the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and cross-matched it with its own LPT Register to identify the properties for which the liability is still outstanding. In this regard, Revenue has clearly stated throughout its extensive HHC related communications programme that the list of properties indicating outstanding liabilities could not be 100% accurate for a number of reasons. For the Deputy's information, the main reasons are:

- The LGMA Register captured the name of the person who paid the HHC rather than the owner of the property, for example, where a son or daughter paid the HHC on behalf of a parent thereby making matching very difficult in some instances.

- The legislative basis for both the HHC and LPT are different. For example, some properties that are liable for LPT are exempt/waived from the HHC, but in many instances the LGMA database did not capture these facts and as a result Revenue had no means to cross-reference such properties through the data matching process.

In regard to waivers from HHC, I am advised by Revenue that Section 4(4) (b) of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 makes provision for entitlement to a waiver from payment of the HHC, where the residential property is situated in an unfinished housing estate, which has been prescribed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. The 'prescribed list' is available on the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government's website at www.environ.ie.

While Revenue has confirmed to me that it has no role in the selection of any properties for a waiver, or in the compilation of the 'prescribed list', it has confirmed to me that while there are certain estates listed with names similar to those quoted by the Deputy, there are in fact no estates listed that exactly match the names supplied.

The Deputy should be aware that property owners who were entitled to a waiver from the HHC were required to register with the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and should have received 'Certificates of Waiver'. If the Deputy is aware of constituents who have received notifications from Revenue in respect of HHC and who hold 'Certificates of Waiver', he should advise them to update their HHC records with this information via Revenue's online system or by contacting the LPT Helpline at 1890 200 255. Property owners can access their individual HHC records through the LPT portal on www.revenue.ie by using the Property Id and PIN codes that were included with the notification letter.