Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (174, 175)

Michael McCarthy

Ceist:

174. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance if he will arrange for the Revenue Commissioners' records to be amended in respect of a local property tax liability in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [21024/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McCarthy

Ceist:

175. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance if he will arrange for the Revenue Commissioners' records to be amended in respect of a local property tax liability in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [21025/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174 and 175 together.

I have previously dealt with these issues under Questions Nos. 43 and 44, 19783-14 and 19784-14 of 1 May 2014.

Revenue has advised me that Section 10 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) made provision for a number of exemptions from Local Property Tax (LPT). The exemptions include certain unfinished housing estates, which are prescribed (as unfinished) by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 91 of 2013. The 'prescribed list' was published in March 2013 and can be viewed at www.environ.ie. It is important to be aware that, in line with Government policy, only properties appearing on the 'prescribed list' are entitled to exemption from LPT and Revenue has no discretion in this regard.

Revenue has confirmed to me that contacts were recently made with LPT Branch by the Deputy's office in respect of the two properties to which his Questions refer. The contacts arose from the owners receiving HHC arrears letters, which issued in both cases because the data, which Revenue received from the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), gave no indication of exemptions being in place. As a result of the Deputy's contact, the properties were subsequently confirmed as being entitled to exemptions (from HHC) and the records were amended to reflect that status.

As a general comment on exemptions, the Deputy should be aware that it does not follow that properties, which are exempt from the Household Charge (HHC) are automatically included in the 'prescribed list' for LPT, as the qualifying criteria in respect of both exemptions are not the same. For example, certain properties and estates that were listed as exempt from HHC on the basis of being 'unfinished' and which were subsequently further developed in the period up to March 2013 were excluded from the LPT 'prescribed list'. This had the effect of very significantly reducing the number of exemptions in respect of LPT in comparison to HHC.

For the Deputy's information, with effect from 1 July 2013, Section 156 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) converted HHC to LPT, increased all outstanding liabilities from €100 to €200 and made Revenue responsible for the collection of those outstanding amounts. 

In regard to the LPT status (as distinct from HHC) of the properties, Revenue has informed me that it has confirmed that parts of the two estates mentioned by the Deputy in his Questions are listed as exempt on SI 91, but from preliminary analysis it appears as if the actual properties in question may not be included. The inclusion or exclusion of individual properties on the 'prescribed list' are issues for the property owners and the relevant Local Authorities to agree upon and Revenue has no role in those decisions.For the reasons just outlined it is very important that before any person claims an exemption from LPT they check to ensure their actual properties are included in the 'prescribed list' regardless of whether they already had exemption from HHC or not and where there is any doubt they should contact the relevant Local Authority to confirm. Once a person has confirmed entitlement to an exemption from LPT with their Local Authority, and can produce the necessary supporting documentation when requested, Revenue will amend the record as appropriate.

Finally, Revenue has assured me that it intends carrying out compliance checks on exempt properties to ensure the property owners in question are entitled to the concessions claimed.