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Payments of the Household Charge still being received every day

45,000 of us have had the Household Charge taken from our wages or pensions

Image: Niall Carson

AROUND 45,000 HOUSEHOLDERS have had Household Charge payments taken from their wages or pension, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed.

In an answer to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath, the Minister has been setting out how Revenue has been pursuing those liable for the payment, which was the precursor of the Local Property Tax.

Revenue took over responsibility for collection of the tax from the Local Government Management Agency in July 2013, at which point all outstanding liabilities were increased from €100 to €200.

As part of the handover, Revenue carried out a data-matching exercise, based on the LGMA’s Household Charge database.

“The data matching exercise produced a list of properties in respect of which the HHC did not appear to be paid,” Noonan said.

Once the ‘unpaid’ cases were identified Revenue announced a compliance campaign, including a six week window (to 31 March 2014), to allow people get both their HHC and LPT affairs in order.

“In regard to HHC, the six week window was necessary because Revenue could not be certain that the ‘unpaid’ list was fully accurate due to the format of the information held on the LGMA database, for example capturing the details of the person that physically paid the bill rather than the liable person and not capturing data in respect of exemptions/waivers.”

Warnings

In mid April of last year, Revenue wrote to the owners of around 274,000 properties who had not brought their Household Charge affairs up to date during the six week window.

“The notices clearly warned of the consequences of continued non-compliance and outlined the steps that needed to be taken to avoid debt collection/ enforcement sanctions, including making immediate payment or updating the HHC record where either exemptions or waivers applied,” Noonan explained.

Revenue has collected over €40m in respect of around 253,000 properties since it took over responsibility for the charge, the vast majority of which has been collected since the compliance campaign started, according to Noonan.

“Revenue has also informed me that there are still ongoing discussions in a significant number of cases where the accuracy of the liability is being challenged.

Further payments are being received on a daily basis as these cases are finalised and phased payment arrangements are being accepted when requested in the same manner as applies to LPT.

Deducted pay

In regard to mandatory payments, Revenue has issued instructions to employers or pension providers to deduct the Household Charge in almost 45,000 cases, and has offset over 19,000 payments from pending tax refunds.

“Revenue has also referred over 800 cases (combined HHC/LPT) to the Sheriff for collection and refused tax clearance certification in over 13,000 cases (combined HHC/LPT).”

The Minister adds:

Revenue has also confirmed that neither interest on late payment charges or surcharges on Income Tax, Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax returns have been applied in respect of HHC and no cases have yet been referred for either solicitor action through the Courts or Attachment.

Read: Revenue took property tax from wages of 68,000 people who didn’t pay

Read: Revenue collects €310m in property tax and household charge payments 

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