The Revenue Commissioners has warned that it will “go after” the 400,000 to 500,000 people who have not yet paid the €200 household charge from the beginning of April.
A €100 charge was introduced as an interim measure ahead of the Local Property Tax (LPT) coming into force last year and it doubled for those who missed the payment deadline.
Chairwoman of Revenue Josephine Feehily told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday its records showed that hundreds of thousands of householders who paid the LPT had never paid the household charge.
She told the PAC that while 1.62 million people had paid the LPT just 1.2 million had paid the household charge.
Ms Feehily accepted that this number was unreliable because different systems were used by the Department of the Environment which oversaw the original collections and Revenue which is responsible for it now.
She said the number of householders who had not paid the charge was between 400,000 and 500,000.
“We do know there are several hundred thousand who haven’t paid (the household charge) and the matching would be right in 80-90 per cent of cases. We’ll be after them, that’s really the message,” she added.
The Revenue’s figure showed 58 per cent of property owners self-assessed a different LPT valuation than the Revenue’s estimate.
It said that 44 per cent of people had returned a lower valuation band, while 14 per cent returned a higher valuation band.
Ms Feehily warned it would be targeting “outliers” – those who had estimated their liability at two or three bands lower than their neighbours – from the middle of April. “The further out people are from the norms, the more likely we are to begin with those,” she said, adding that people who wished to “self-correct” their liability could do so online before the end of next month without incurring any fines or penalties. “We have already challenged a handful of people and there will be a lot of letters landing in the second half of April,” she warned.
She said that there was now a 93 per cent compliance rate for LPT payment and said around €600,000 in property tax was coming in each day, down from €1 million a day in the first days of the new year.
All told €315 million was transferred by Revenue to the exchequer in property tax payments at the end of 2013.
The Revenue chairwoman described the current compliance rate for LPT as “very good” and said if a similar rate could be achieved for the household charge by the autumn she would be “very pleased”.
“We will be ahead of the compliance rate in other areas”.
Ms Feehily also warned that huge losses accumulated across the financial sector in the wake of the property bubble bursting will be offset against future profits made by the State’s banks.
The Revenue said close to €100 billion of losses were declared by the banking sector which will be able to be written off against tax if and when they return to profitability.