Owners of second homes to be hit with €10 charge if they don't pay online

Owners of second homes to be hit with €10 charge if they don't pay online

Owners of second homes who don’t pay for the second home levy online are set to be hit with an additional €10 “transaction charge”, it has been revealed.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced the extra fee in the Dáil on Tuesday. Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins immediately described the move as “completely ridiculous”.

The second-home levy, officially known as the Non-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge, was introduced in 2008 and is set at €200 a year.

An online payment system is in place for the charge, but the numbers availing of this option has fallen from 85% in October 2009 to 59% at the end of last year.

Minister Hogan said over-the-counter payments were “resource heavy” for local authorities “and it is considered that this should be reflected in an additional charge if somebody chooses to use an administratively expensive payment option when others are available”.

As a result, a €10 “transaction charge” has been introduced for those who decide to pay the charge over-the-counter rather than online.

The extra fee will not apply, however, to those who make the payment by post.

Mr Hogan announced the new fee as he published the legislation to give effect to the interim household charge – a separate levy to the second-home charge.

While the NPPR applies to second homes only, the interim household charge will be charged on the main family home, or principal residence.

It will take effect from January 1 and will be set at €100 a year until it is replaced by a full property tax.

Mr Hogan said: “In light of the complex issues involved, a property tax, requiring a comprehensive property valuation system, would take time to introduce and accordingly, to meet the requirements in the EU/IMF programme, the Government decided to introduce a household charge in 2012.”

The minister added the charge would help put “the funding of locally delivered services on a sound financial footing”. It will affect “the majority of residential property owners in the state”, and will have to be paid by March 31 next.

The Government said it would also put in place a system allowing for the charge to be paid in four instalments of €25. The charge will be administered on a self-assessment basis, meaning it will be a matter for owners to register and pay it. Late payment fees and interest will apply if homeowners fail to pay on time.

Tenants in local authority housing, in private rented accommodation or households in receipt of mortgage interest supplement will not have to pay the charge.

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