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People whose homes have been flooded can defer property tax this year

Michael Noonan said homeowners can revalue their property if its been damaged by floods.

Flooding in Fermoy, Co Cork
Flooding in Fermoy, Co Cork
Image: Anthony O'Brien

Updated 1.20pm

REVENUE HAS CONFIRMED that some homeowners whose properties were damaged by the extensive flooding in recent weeks can apply to have their local property tax deferred this year.

Any person who is in receipt of support from the Department of Social Protection’s humanitarian relief fund can apply to have their 2016 property tax payment deferred.

Revenue said this can be done regardless of whether or not a household qualifies for a deferral under the normal criteria.

Around 160 households have been in receipt of the humanitarian relief fund which includes emergency income support as well as items like food, clothing, toiletries and fuel.

The Department said the cost of the support provided to date has been €145,000.

Meanwhile, homeowners whose properties have been damaged by the recent spate of flooding are able to apply for a reduction in their property tax if the value has been impacted.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said yesterday that while there are no plans to give an across-the-board exemption to affected homeowners they can apply to have the value of their house reassessed.

This raises the prospect of a householder’s property tax being reduced or, if their home is damaged beyond repair, cancelled.

Hundreds of homes across the midlands, west and south-west have been damaged by floodwaters over the past four weeks as river levels have risen, particularly along the Shannon.

Noonan said that as property tax is self-assessed a householder who believes the value of their property has diminished or been cancelled by the flooding can submit a valuation “commensurate with that”.

“So it’s already within the legal base of the property tax to allow householders to deal with reducing values from any extraneous event, including flooding,” Noonan told reporters yesterday.

Guidance from Revenue, which administers the property tax, says the location of a house and its risk of flooding are factors which “are likely to impact on market value of a property”. Revenue says these factors should be taken into account when valuing a property.

But Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said that the Department of Social Protection’s humanitarian assistance fund can provide more immediate relief to affected homeowners.

He said it is “much easier” for officials to see the damage and give a cash payment to those affected, rather than go through the process of legislative change and then assessment of properties.

The government has already decided to freeze local property tax until 2019 following a recommendation from an expert group examining the tax which was first introduced by the government 2013.

Revenue also said that business owners who have been affected by the flooding should contact the Collector-General’s office to agree additional time to file tax returns and make payments.

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