herald

Thursday 27 November 2014

We'll take unpaid property tax out of bank accounts

HOMEOWNERS who fail to pay the property tax face the prospect of having it taken straight from their bank accounts, it has been confirmed.

The Revenue Commissioners have been granted the powers to take money directly from accounts without a court order.

The measure is one of a number of powers set out in the new property tax legislation -- passed by the Seanad last week.

The taxman will also be entitled to enter the properties of those who do not have their homes assessed for value.

But in a warning to homeowners considering rebelling against paying the property tax, The Revenue Commissioners confirmed that bank accounts can be directly targeted.

"Section 1002 of the Tax Consolidation Act grants Revenue the power to attach amounts due to a defaulting taxpayer by a third party (including a financial institution)," a spokeswoman said.

Mortgage expert Karl Deeter said that the measures contained in the legislation significantly strengthened the powers of the taxman.



Disaster

"Revenue are not to be toyed with. If you won't pay the tax, officials have the power to go into your bank account and take the money," he said.

Government sources have indicated that they are determined to avoid boycotts that plagued its plans to introduce the €100 Household Charge.

"The household charge was at times a disaster. But these measures effectively mean that you cannot escape paying the tax on your home and that's vital for this if we are meet our targets," a minister explained.

More than half-a-million householders have yet to pay the €100 charge with a number of court cases now pending.

However the power granted to the taxman to enter homes could meet legal hurdles.

Barrister James McDermott said this may be challenged in the Supreme Court. He said it appeared to be in conflict with article 40 of the Constitution, which states: "The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with law."

But Mr McDermott said it was likely that Revenue would argue the "save in accordance with law" allows them access.

hnews@herald.ie

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