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Single mother's teenage son gets letter demanding property tax payment

The mother-of-one has owned her home for over two decades but it was her son, who worked part-time last summer, who received the local property tax letter this week.

The local property tax website
The local property tax website
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A SINGLE MOTHER, who has owned her home for over two decades, was forced to contact Revenue after her son received a letter saying he was liable for the local property tax.

The mother-of-one from Shankill in south-east Dublin says that a letter addressed to her 16-year-old son arrived this week and that when she contacted officials at the Revenue Commissioners they told her to cross off his name and put in her own name.

But she insisted that she be sent a letter addressed to her: “I wouldn’t want to leave my 16-year-old son’s name on this. In a couple of years if his name pops up as the owner of this house, you just don’t know what might happen.”

It is one of a number of stories which have emerged in recent days of households getting property tax letters addressed to the children living there because they may have worked part-time, summer jobs in recent years, putting them on Revenue’s system.

The Revenue Commissioners said in a statement that because it had to compile a register of the 1.6 million residential properties in the State there would be “errors in our records and a very small minority of individuals will receive a letter in error”.

The mother, who did not wish to be identified, told TheJournal.ie: “Because he worked last summer he was registered with Revenue, they sent it direct it to him even though I’ve owned the house for the best part of 25 years, on my own.”

“I suppose what really got up my nose was the sexist part,” she said claiming that because he was  the male in the house the letter was addressed to him. She added that it was not a good start for collecting the tax when officials could not get the owners right.

“When they are asking people to pay this and they can’t even start with getting the owner correct that is a worrying stating point,” she said adding that she was also unsure about the estimate of her home’s value that Revenue had supplied.

Revenue said that where a son or daughter had paid the household charge on behalf of their parent this could lead to a situation where the payer rather than the owner is notified of the property tax liability. But this does not appear to have happened in this case.

Speaking recently, the chairman of the Revenue, Josephine Feehily said: “An important message is that if a person gets a letter and they are not the owner, they should contact Revenue immediately to tell us who the owner is so that we can correct the register.

“If they don’t, we will continue to connect them to that property. The letters we are issuing emphasise this also.”

The mother says she intends to raise the matter with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, a neighbour of hers, and said the whole experience has left “a bad taste in my mouth”.

She said the current state of the economy meant that her son, who is currently in fifth year, would likely have to emigrate for work when he finishes school.

Read: Over 7,000 complete local property tax returns

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Hugh O'Connell

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