Thousands Due Property Tax Refunds In Legislation Error
11 November 2013
Posted by: Author: Genevieve Carbery
Author: Genevieve Carbery (The Irish Times)
Thousands of homeowners are expected to receive refunds on their local property tax due to an unclear clause in the legislation.
said today that this move was related to a clause in legislation which
was originally intended to give an exemption to some first time buyers
on second hand houses up to 2016.
"However, read literally, the exemption benefits any buyer, not just a first time buyer,” Revenue said in a statement today.
The body reviewed the legislation and found that "it
did not impose a liability to LPT on a non-first time buyer of a
"The result is that a person
who purchases a second hand house and occupies it as a sole or main
residence is entitled to the exemption regardless of the fact that they
are not a first time buyer,” it said.
will write to people "as soon as possible” advising them that they may
qualify for an exemption. It has attempted to identify those involved by
matching their local property tax data with stamp duty records, it
Revenue said the exemption was for first
time buyers only had been clear in the notes to the legislation and the
explanatory memorandum to the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act. However
it said the exemption did not apply "notwithstanding the fact that the
intention was clear”.
A Revenue spokeswoman was
unable to confirm how many people would be involved but said "
indications are a few thousand will receive refunds”.
Fianna Fáil said the Minister for Finance needed to
"clarify” whether the effect of the statement was "that any person —
whether they be a first time buyer or not — who buys a second hand home
between now and the end of the year for the purpose of using it as their
family home will be exempt from the LPT until 2016”.
The error was a result of the Government "ramming legislation through”. Fianna Fáil spokesman on finance Michael McGrath said.
committee stage debate on the Act was "farcical”, he said. The debate
took place on December 18th last year and "so anxious was the government
to ram the bill through before Christmas that the committee stage was
forced through in a matter of hours. Only 2 of the 159 sections of the
Bill were even debated,” he said in a statement.
The Government had to "accept responsiblity” for the mistake, Mr McGrath added.
announcement comes after a week of widespread public criticism that
taxpayers paying by plastic card have had to pay the 2013 tax and the
2014 tax within one year.
On Thursday venue
chairwoman of the Revenue Commissioners appeared before the Oireachtas
Finance Committee to explain the approach of Revenue to the collection
of the tax, which was first introduced in July this year.
stood over the decision to deduct credit and card payments this month
for the 2014 property tax on the basis that there are significant risks
involved in retaining card details.
This week the
Revenue Commissioners extended the ‘paper’ filing deadline for the
property tax by a week due to the volume of queries it has received.
had arisen about the methods of payment after Revenue issued letters
offering seven different options, some with different payment deadlines.
This article first appeared in irishtimes.com.