THE HALF-A-MILLION householders who have yet to pay the Household Charge for 2011 have been warned that their outstanding charges will be automatically added to the forthcoming Property Tax.
Michael Noonan said any household which had not yet paid the €100 charge – which currently stands at €130 for households which pay the charge this January – will see the charge added to their Property Tax liability when that new tax kicks in this July.
Further, households which have not paid the Household Charge for 2012 by then will see their liability shoot up by 38 per cent if they have not paid in July – with the charge, including penalties and interest, jumping from €145 to a flat-rate €200.
Noonan said this move would serve as “an important assurance for compliant tax payers that non-payment of the Household Charge will not be ignored and will be collected”.
Because the new Property Tax will be collected by the Revenue Commissioners – with plans for various mechanisms for payment, including direct debits and deductions from social welfare payments – it is anticipated that it will become significantly more difficult for householders to hold out from payment.
Figures released shortly after Christmas claimed that 1.1 million homes had registered to pay the charge, with a further 22,334 homes registering for legal waivers from the charge.
By the government’s own estimation, however, this meant that approximately half a million households are still yet to register, either to pay the charge or to seek a waiver from it.
The roll-in of the Household Charge into the new Property Tax may offer some relief for some householders who simply claimed they could not afford to hand over the €100 asked of them.
Arrangements are being made so that some low-income or elderly households will be able to defer payment of the charge until the house is sold, or until its owner dies and their estate is executed.
These arrangements could also apply to any unpaid Household Charges which are rolled into the Property Tax come July.
However, low-income households will first need to avoid a summons from their local authority, which will remain responsible for collecting unpaid Household Charges for the next six months. Several councils have already begun legal action against individual householders who have not yet paid up.