Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ceisteanna (119, 120, 121, 122)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

123 Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there has been any discussion or decision on the Revenue Commissioners withholding tax clearance certificates from persons who have not paid the household charge and or any similar charges now or in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23188/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations provide the legislative basis for the household charge. Interpretation of the legislation is a matter for legal advice in individual cases and ultimately a matter for the Courts.

Under the Act, an owner of a residential property on the liability date of 1 January 2012 is liable to pay the household charge, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. The household charge is on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for an owner of a residential property on the liability date to determine if he/she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the household charge.

Tax clearance certificates are issued by the Revenue Commissioners under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. That Act is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. My Department has had no discussions with the Revenue Commissioners on the issue.

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

124 Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the extent of the discretion that local authorities have in implementing the household charge and the non-principal private residence charge, which he has mentioned in many parliamentary questions; if grants will be reduced for any local authorities who seek to exercise discretion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23189/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Ceist:

131 Deputy Luke “Ming” Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if late fees can be waived for those living abroad who were not aware of the non principal private residence tax on their property; and if he will instruct the local authorities to accept the NPPR tax only for those who now present to pay the back tax owed (details supplied). [23302/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 and 131 together.

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, as amended, set out the legislation underpinning the household charge and the charge on non-principal private residences respectively.

Under the legislation, it is a function of a local authority to collect household charges and charges on non-principal private residences and associated late payment penalties due to it and all such charges and late payment penalties imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned. In this regard, application of the legislation in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority. Interpretation of the legislation is a matter for legal advice in individual cases and ultimately a matter for the Courts.

I have recently issued guidelines to local authorities in relation to the operation of the "care and management" provisions of the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 in the context of individual situations where genuine hardship in having to discharge a liability in a single payment can be demonstrated. In such cases, the guidelines set out the modalities for local authorities in entering into payment arrangements for the discharge of outstanding liabilities in instalments over a specified period. I also intend to issue guidance shortly to local authorities on hardship in the context of the operation of the "care and management" provisions of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011.

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

125 Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the reason local authority tenants are specifically mentioned as not having to pay the household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23190/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations 2012 provide the legislation underpinning the household charge.

Section 2(2) of the Act provides that certain buildings are not residential property for the purposes of the legislation. Section 2(2)(b), in particular, provides that a building vested in a Minister of the Government, a housing authority (within the meaning of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992) or the Health Service Executive is not a residential property for the purposes of the Act.