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Revenue threatens to dock public servant's pay over a property they'd never heard of

It’s unclear why Revenue believed that the individual owed the State outstanding tax on a number of properties in another county.

shutterstock_317352710 File photo Source: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS threatened to dock the pay of a public servant that they accused of owning properties without paying the required Local Property Tax (LPT).

Revenue issued the person with a letter, seen by TheJournal.ie, two months ago saying that it would be instructing their employer to reduce their pay by equal amounts in order to cancel out the tax deficit by the end of the year.

The person in question (who is a property-owner in their own locality) does not own any of the properties for which Revenue was seeking recompense, all of which are located in a different county from where they live.

They verified this by using the property identifier and PIN provided by Revenue, plus their own PPS (Personal Public Services) number, prior to contacting the Commissioners.

About six months prior to receiving the letter, the person received a call which they (upon reflection after receiving the letter) believe came from Revenue and was probably related to the mix-up. However, at the time they dismissed it as a case of mistaken identity and did not reveal any information pertinent to her own circumstances.

When they received the letter threatening to dock their pay they contacted Revenue to try and shed light on the matter. Upon investigation, the State body acknowledged the mistake, with an official saying it was probably due “to a mix-up with the land registry”.

No further contact was made between the two. When contacted for comment on the matter, a spokesperson said, “Revenue is legally precluded from comment on the tax affairs of any individual or specific case.”

“I received no explanation about how I was incorrectly registered as owner,” the public servant meanwhile told TheJournal.ie.

Security and accuracy

The situation raises further questions as to the security and accuracy of how private information is being handled by the State.

The letter which was sent to the individual in question informed them that Revenue would be instructing their employer to deduct the allegedly outstanding property tax “in equal instalments from payments to you over the rest of 2017″.

It is unclear whether or not this case involves data-sharing between departments – the Local Property Tax (which is self-assessed, although when stamp duty is paid on a property sale an LPT record is created for it) register is maintained by Revenue (the LPT register was created in 2013 using information from various Revenue charge portals, including the Household Charge, the precursor to the property tax).

File Photo PEOPLE ARE BEING warned to be alert against a phishing scam involving fraudulent emails and texts Source: RollingNews.ie

However, the Irish land register is managed by the Property Registration Authority, which comes under the aegis of the Department of Justice (which also has responsibility for the property price register).

The situation does certainly bring into question the accuracy of the information which the Revenue Commissioners are maintaining, particularly given Local Property Tax is tracked in conjunction with a citizen’s unique (and individual) PPS number, likewise the fact that it is State policy to name-and-shame tax offenders.

Revenue did tell TheJournal.ie that “mandatory deduction from salary or occupational pension” is a standard means by which the State body recoups underpaid taxes.

“Any person who is incorrectly linked with a property is advised to contact Revenue with the relevant details,” the spokesperson for the Commissioners said.

Revenue’s responsibility is to assess, collect and manage the taxes and duties due to the Exchequer. To the extent that it is necessary, compliance enforcement is standard Revenue practice.

“Revenue will review and make corrections to the LPT Register, as appropriate,” they added.

Read: Tracker mortgage scandal: ‘Vast majority’ of 13,000 customers to be repaid by Christmas

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