HOUSEHOLDERS who second-guess Revenue's estimate of their property tax could be slapped with penalties.
FROM next Monday, letters will be sent to the country's 1.6 million householders giving them six options for paying the new property tax.
People who fail to respond by the end of June will face immediate interest penalties and will ultimately have their tax deducted from their salary, pension or social welfare payments.
The Revenue letters will provide an initial estimate of the value of each property but homeowners will still have the right to self-assess their own home value.
But they will ultimately be liable to penalties if they send back a valuation that the Revenue later decides is too low.
The letters will advise people on how to value their homes and how to calculate the amount of tax they owe.
Dublin city residents are likely to pay an average property tax of €405, compared to about €249 for their rural counterparts. The chairwoman of the Revenue commissioners, Josephine Feehily, briefed ministers yesterday about the operation of the new tax, which has caused concerns among Government backbenchers about a possible public backlash.
She expressed confidence that Revenue would get a compliance rate of 97pc when the system is up and running.
Ms Feehily told ministers that the Revenue letters will make it clear to householders that they must make a return by the end of June, indicating how they intend to pay.
Interest penalties of 8pc will apply to people who do not pay and the Revenue will be entitled to deduct the tax and the penalties at source from salaries, welfare payments or bank accounts.
Everyone who receives a letter from Revenue is required to make a return – whether or not they are liable for the tax.
However, it has emerged that about 65,000 people who are registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS) will not be sent a physical letter, but will instead have to check their email for notification to visit their online revenue account – a move that has been criticised for adding to confusion around the new tax.
Consumer groups warned that failing to send letters to everyone risked turning the administration of the new tax into a "shambles."
"Revenue will send property tax letters electronically to those who are already obliged to submit returns for other taxes electronically," a Revenue spokeswoman said.
She said it would not make sense to require people to file tax returns electronically and to also write a letter to them.
Consumers Association chairman Michael Kilcoyne said it was a mistake not to send postal letters to every homeowner due to pay the tax, as this would only add to confusion about the tax.
"This will turn into a shambles if everyone who is to get a letter does not get one," he said.
An information campaign about the tax starts tomorrow with a press conference by the Revenue Commissioners.
Householders can opt to have the tax deducted at source from their salary, pension or welfare payment or they can pay it directly to the tax authorities in one lump sum or in instalments spread over the year.
They will be able to pay the tax at post offices with cash, debit or credit card or at shops using Payzone. Revenue is to publish an electoral area survey of property values so people can compare their own assessment with the general level of property valuations in their area.