Revenue plan for property tax is 'tyranny'
THE power of the Revenue Commissioners to take the money from homeowners is "truly extraordinary", TDs warned today.
Independent TD Shane Ross claimed that the Government had resorted to "fiscal tyranny" in a bid to ensure the property tax is paid.
Fianna Fail has also accused the Government of resorting to "the big-stick approach" in a bid to stifle opposition to the controversial tax.
Revenue Commissioners chairman Josephine Feehily confirmed that her officials can raid bank accounts, salaries and even social welfare payments if not directly settled by householders.
Ms Feehily also warned that Commissioners have been instructed that allowable exemptions on the grounds of financial hardship will be "very restrictive".
Mr Ross said the Government's decision to recruit the Commissioners for collecting the levy was easy to understand.
"The powers that Revenue have are truly extraordinary. It is very difficult to resist Revenue's demand for the money because they can basically do whatever they want," he said.
"The Government went to Revenue because it realised that local government simply wasn't going to be able to collect it."
"But it effectively amounts to fiscal tyranny and a bid to frighten people into paying the levy themselves," he added.
With the exception of the financial hardship exemption, all other elements of the tax will be self-assessed.
The Revenue Commissioners boss admitted that the financial hardship exemption will be very limited.
"It is a very restrictive sections . . . the idea of sending 1.6m people an encouragement to tell us that they are in hardship would not make sense," Ms Feehily said.
From next month Revenue will launch an information campaign advising householders about how and when the levy should be paid.
From late March and April, households will start receiving forms which need to be returned by May 7, May 28 for online returns.
Payment must be made by July 1.