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Over 1.5 million property tax returns submitted by 8pm deadline

Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily says enforcement procedures will be needed against “less than 5 per cent” of homes.

Updated, 21:37

OVER 1.5 MILLION self-assessed returns for the local property tax were filed by tonight’s 8pm deadline, the Revenue Commissioner have said.

Data published this evening showed that 1,539,822 returns had been filed by the 8pm deadline.

Earlier today, Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily told an Oireachtas committee that another 200,000 properties were accounted for as being exempt from the tax, for being in unfinished estates, or being owned by local authorities.

Feehily told the Oireachtas finance committee that local authorities and housing associations owned about 160,000 properties, and that tax for these would be collected through a separate mechanism.

Another 40,000 homes were in unfinished estates or owned by companies in receivership, and were therefore ineligible for the charge.

As a result, she said, the Revenue’s new database of all homes in Ireland included about 1.72 million properties – more than the original estimate of 1.6 million it had been given by a variety of other sources including the LGMA.

Feehily said, however, she could not estimate exactly how many properties were liable for the tax because Revenue had no database of Irish homes to work from.

She expected that the total number was “somewhere north of 1.9″ million, but that given the rate at which property tax returns were being filed, she thought that enforcement procedures would be needed in “less than five per cent” of cases.

“My sense of it right now, in terms of the ones I will have to worry about… is that there’s about 100,000 properties that we’ll have to do some serious looking at,” she said.

She affirmed, however, that Revenue would now proceed to ensure that outstanding returns were enforced – as Revenue “owe nothing less” to the people who had abided by their responsibility to pay up.

Feehily said the deadline for filing – which had originally been set for midnight last night – had been extended because of the sheer volume of users hoping to do so by telephone.

The telephone hotline had received 8,000 calls yesterday, she said, while Revenue had received a total of 400,000 returns since last Friday evening.

22 per cent of returns were received by paper, with 5 per cent filed over the phone or at a local Revenue office, while 73 per cent were filed online.

61 per cent of those who had returned so far were paying up front, through either debit and credit cards or cheques and a single bank transfer, while 27 per cent are paying by direct debit and 5 per cent are voluntarily having the tax deducted from their income.

A further 7 per cent of taxpayers are doing so via an external provider such as a vending machine or a post office, Feehily said.

The Exchequer returns for May should include property tax payments of €100 million, she said, while there was “no reason to believe” that the government’s estimate of €250 million in total income would not be realised.

Read: Revenue extends deadline for property tax until 8pm

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Gavan Reilly

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