Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Department of Finance
Property Tax Exemptions
165. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will exempt temporarily homes of persons from paying property tax, on the basis that their houses should be re-valued at zero, until such time as they regain their value after flood defences are put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2349/16]
Section 13 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) sets out how residential properties are to be valued for Local Property Tax (LPT) purposes.
The current valuation date of 1 May 2013 is now valid until 31 October 2019 on foot of a recent legislative amendment (Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Act 2015). The declared valuation is not affected by any repairs or improvements made to a property or by any general increase or decrease in property prices that might occur over the course of the valuation period.
The date that determines if a property owner is liable for LPT for any given year is known as the 'liability date'. The 'liability date' is set by the LPT Act as 1 November in the preceding year and the owner on this date is liable to pay LPT for the following year. For example, the 'liability date' for the year 2016 is 1 November 2015. If a property becomes uninhabitable after that date the liability for 2016 remains due.
The LPT Act does not provide for revised or reduced valuations on foot of occurrences such as the recent flooding. However, initial analysis by Revenue indicates that the majority of properties situated on affected 'flood plains' are already valued in the lowest Valuation Band and the question of a reduction in value does not therefore arise.
Revenue recently announced that it is making the LPT Deferral and Partial Deferral relief available to property owners, in respect of the 2016 liability, whose principal private residence was flooded during the recent bad weather. The relief is available to the people affected, regardless of whether they qualify under the normal Deferral/Partial Deferral criteria as set down in Part 12 of the LPT Act, providing they are in receipt of assistance through the Department of Social Protection Humanitarian Relief Fund.
For clarity, Part 12 of the LPT Act provides for Deferral, and Partial Deferral (50%) schemes that can apply to liable property owners under certain conditions including, 'Income Level', 'Hardship', 'Personal Insolvency' and also to 'Personal Representative of a Deceased Person'. The deferred tax remains as a charge on the property and must be paid before a sale or transfer can be completed. Interest is charged on the deferred amount at a rate of 4% per annum and the duration of the relief normally coincides with the valuation period (1 May 2013 to 31 October 2019).
It may however arise that certain properties have suffered damage and have become uninhabitable and will not be repaired by 1 November 2016 and will be unfit for occupation by the property owner. Such properties, once they are not occupied at 1 November 2016, will not be liable for LPT for 2017.
Property owners who wish to avail of the deferral option or require clarification in regard to their particular circumstances should contact the LPT Helpline at 1890 200 255 to make the necessary arrangements. Revenue has assured me that any queries or requests for deferral will be prioritised and responses will be issued without delay.
The Deputy will be aware that the Government has provided a number of supports to persons affected by flooding including the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP).