Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Questions (92)

Catherine Martin

Question:

92. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Finance the number of householders originally given an exemption from the property tax and-or household charge but that subsequently had the exemption withdrawn retrospectively and were forced to repay the property tax and household charge previously foregone; the amount collected in these retrospective repayments; if he is satisfied that such householders were treated fairly in the application of criteria for the retrospective withdrawal of the exemption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37857/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that Local Property Tax (LPT) exemptions are claimed on a self-assessment basis meaning that the onus is on property owners to correctly claim exemptions in accordance with the legislation as set down in the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) (LPT Act).

In respect of the household charge (HHC), this was governed by the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 which provided for certain exemptions and waivers. The criteria for these differed to the exemptions available for LPT. Property owners were obliged to submit claims and HHC waivers/exemptions were granted or refused by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) or the relevant Local Authorities. Revenue became responsible for the collection of HHC arrears, with effect from July 2013, but did not take on responsibility for the administration of exemptions or waivers. Data in respect of exemptions/waivers granted/refused is available from the Local Government Management Agency. 

The number of exemptions fluctuate for a variety of reasons, including the receipt of new claims, the termination of existing exemptions or the amendment of claims. The latest statistics up to the end of July 2019, indicate that in excess of 49,100 exemptions are in place (including 1,700 in respect of significant pyrite damage) for the year 2019, broken down as per the following table:

Exemption

Total 2019 (Rounded)

Charitable Bodies (recreational activities)

200

Charitable bodies (special needs accommodation)

8,200

Certain properties purchased between 1/1/2013 and 31/12/2013

11,500

Properties fully chargeable to commercial rates

2,400

Properties vacated because of long-term mental / physical infirmity

7,600

Mobile homes

300

Registered nursing homes

300

Significant pyrite damage

1,700

Residence of severely incapacitated individual

2,000

Unfinished housing estates

3,310

Trading stock of builder / developer (unsold at 1/5/2013 or sold in the period 1/1/2013 to 31/10/2019

11,600

Total

49,110

As part of its compliance programme, Revenue carries out ongoing verification checks to ensure the various LPT exemptions are correctly claimed. Revenue is obliged to ensure that all property owners meet their LPT obligations and must make sure that compliant taxpayers are not disadvantaged. An exemption is only withdrawn where it has been claimed incorrectly and the property does not satisfy the specific exemption criteria. 

I am advised by Revenue that it is not possible at this time to state the number of exemptions that have been withdrawn retrospectively as a result of compliance interventions but I will revert to the Deputy with additional statistical information.

As I am sure you'll appreciate taxpayer confidentiality prevents Revenue from providing personal information in each circumstance and as such I cannot comment on the details of individual cases. 

Revenue is aware that the payment of outstanding arrears in certain circumstances could cause financial difficulties and for this reason, has confirmed that it is willing to work with anyone in such a situation, to agree a mutually satisfactory arrangement.