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Dreaded property tax letters sent out today

THIS is the dreaded property tax letter that homeowners will start receiving from Revenue in the coming days.

The letters – which will include an estimate about a property's value – will be sent to around 1.8m homeowners, starting from today.

While Revenue will provide an estimate of the property tax payable in the letter, it will still be up to individual householders to assess the correct band for their property.

The letter, the first batch of which was sent out today, provides a "notice of estimate of local property tax (LPT)", but householders have to calculate the amount they have to pay themselves.

"This is not based on an actual assessment of the market value of your property," the letter states.

"It is a formal notice to you that if you do not submit a completed return and opt for a payment method or a deferral/ exemption, the estimated amount will be collected by Revenue through deduction at source from payments to you.

"Once you submit a fully completed return, the notice of estimate will no longer apply."

Even if a homeowner considers that the amount shown on the notice of estimate accurately reflects their own self assessment, they should still complete the return on that basis, Revenue said.

The tax can be collected at source via salary or social welfare payments.

landlords

The advent of the new property tax charge has been met with much confusion after an online guide to property values has been criticised for being too complex.

And the methodology used in estimating the tax is also not entirely accurate.

On the website, the property's value is based on the average price in the area and the age of the house.

It doesn't take into account the size, how many bedrooms or if there have been extensions and improvements to the house.

And it doesn't take into account the changeable nature of property prices, as the rate is set for three years.

"The value your property is at May 1 this year – it stands for three years," a representative for Revenue told the Herald.

But Revenue chairman Josephine Feehily has already admitted that there could be errors in the letters.

Some letters may be sent to people who are deceased, while others may be sent in error to tenants instead of landlords.

But it is up to current property owners to pay the tax.

Homeowners can return their tax form in paper form or online at revenue.ie.

If an individual receives a property tax return but they do not own the property, they must contact Revenue.

It should not be ignored as Revenue will pursue collection of the tax, Ms Feehily said.

The system has used the propertypriceregister.ie, the result of Census 2011 and some independent evaluation.

The guide, which is available on the website Revenue.ie, was launched ahead of the letters.

See Dan White, page 14


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