Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ceisteanna (66, 67, 68, 69)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

66. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the revenue raised by the additional element of the local property tax on houses valued at above €1 million in 2013 and to date in 2014. [15462/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

67. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the percentage of claims for deferral of the local property tax accepted by the Revenue Commissioners in 2013 and to date in 2014. [15463/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

68. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the percentage of claims for exemption from the local property tax accepted by the Revenue Commissioners in 2013 and to date in 2014. [15464/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

69. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the way the 3% rate for deferrals and exemptions under the local property tax compares with earlier forecasts from his Department and the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will explain any discrepancies. [15465/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 to 69, inclusive, together.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent Local Property Tax (LPT) data published by them is available on the Commissioners' website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/lpt/lpt-stats-0214.pdf. This covers statistics for both 2013 and 2014 (to February 2014).

 In relation to Question No. 66, I assume that the Deputy is referring to the provision whereby liability for LPT in respect of residential properties valued at over €1m is established by applying a rate of 0.18% to the first €1m in value and 0.25% to the portion of the value above €1m. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent data published by them shows that about 0.2% of properties have been valued for LPT purposes in excess of €1m on a self assessment basis.  On that basis, it is estimated that some €2.5m additional tax was collected for 2013 that is attributable to the 0.25% rate on that part of the property valuations in excess of €1m.  It is reasonable to conclude that the final figure for 2014 is likely to be double the 2013 amount, however it is not possible to be definitive at this stage about amounts collected to date for 2014 at the 0.25% rate.

 Regarding Questions Nos. 67,68 and 69, as indicated in the Revenue Commissioner's statistics, there are about 18,700 properties where deferrals have been claimed and around 28,300 claims for exemptions among the returns processed to date. These equate to about 1.2% and 1.8% of properties returned respectively.  These figures are primarily based on claims submitted by property owners in their LPT returns. As the Deputy notes, earlier forecasts predicted that the level of deferrals and exemptions could be substantially higher. These figures were estimated prior to the implementation of LPT. While considerable effort may have been put into initial estimates of possible levels of exemption and deferral, the impact of the actual exemption and deferral provisions could not be accurately determined until the returns process has been completed.

 It should be noted that deferral is a personal choice issue for property owners and some, although they meet the conditions of deferral, may opt to pay the tax if their means allow it.  Consequently, even if the number of potential eligible cases were known in advance with accuracy, it would not have been possible to estimate the number that would actually apply for a deferral.

Revenue estimates that the compliance rate for 2013 is currently at 93%. It may be the case that some property owners have not claimed an exemption or a deferral on the misapprehension that they are automatically entitled to one. It is important for property owners to be aware that they must apply for exemption from LPT or deferral as it will not generally be granted automatically and the Revenue Commissioners advise that this has been a key part of their communications message since the introduction of the tax.

 The Deputy will be aware that the deadline for property owners to bring their LPT affairs (including the Household Charge) up to date and avoid interest and penalties was 31 March 2014 and has now been extended to today.  I am advised by the Commissioners that their current priority is processing the large volume of Returns and payments received and they expect to publish more detailed data and analysis in due course.