To ask the Minister for Finance if he will, in the interests of impartial information provision and clarity, request that Revenue ensure that the letters to be distributed to property owners outlining their estimated local property tax liability will also contain the exact band into which their property falls which has been used to calculate the liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Seán Kyne.
Minister for Finance ( Mr Noonan) : The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 sets out how the tax is to be administered, how a residential property is to be valued for LPT purposes and provides for the making of a Revenue Estimate.
I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that LPT is a self-assessment tax, so in the first instance, it is a matter for the property owner to calculate the tax due based on his or her assessment of the chargeable value of the property. I would like to clarify that the Revenue Commissioners will not be involved, as a matter of routine, in valuing individual properties. As part of the general issue of Returns, beginning in March 2013, property owners will also receive an information booklet and a Revenue Estimate of LPT. The Revenue Estimate is not based on a valuation of each owner’s individual property, nor should it be regarded as an accurate calculation of the amount of LPT that they should pay. Once the property owner meets his or her obligations by valuing the property, submitting the Return and advising Revenue of his or her payment method within the relevant time limits, the Revenue Estimate of LPT notified to the owner is no longer relevant. However, if the property owner considers that the amount shown on the Notice of Estimate accurately reflects his or her self-assessment, he or she should complete the Return on that basis, select a payment option and submit the Return.
The Commissioners are actively preparing valuation guidance which, taken together with the owner’s own knowledge of the property, will assist him or her in assessing its value. The guidance will include an on-line guide that will provide indicative property valuation bands depending on the property type, age and location, and it will be available on the Revenue website prior to the issue of Returns to property owners. The guidance will also draw property owners’ attention to the publicly available property price register produced by the Property Services Regulatory Authority which provides an actual sales price for all properties sold in the State since January 2010. As I have previously advised the House, where the Revenue guidance is used in an honest manner, the property valuation made by a property owner will not be challenged by Revenue in accordance with its normal Customer Service Charter.