Homeowners NOT facing €100 daily fines on property tax

On 27 February 2013, a leading national newspaper published a story claiming the homeowners face a penalty of €100 per day for failing to respond to requests for information about their property from Revenue.

This is very inaccurate. Actually, it’s totally incorrect.

The section referred is Section 151(5) Finance (Local Property Tax) Act, 2012.  Here’s what it says:

(5) Where a relevant person has been requested by notice under subsection (1) to provide information to the Revenue Commissioners and the person fails to provide the information requested—

(a) in the form and manner requested, and

(b) within the time limit specified in the notice,

that person shall be liable to pay a penalty of €100 for each day the failure continues after the time limit specified in the notice

So, there is a €100 daily fine for failure to provide Revenue with information requested.  But who can be liable for that fine? What the article’s author, and the quoted tax expert, did was to assume that a”relevant person” was any person and therefore includes homeowners.

Anyone familiar with tax legislation knows that the term “relevant person” is one that will be defined in the context of the particular section, chapter or part of the legislation in which it is included.  “Relevant person” will mean different things in different parts of the tax code.

So, what does “relevant person” mean in this particular context?  For that we need to read a little bit further to Section 153.  That section is dedicated to explaining to us what a relevant person is in the context of the €100 daily penalty.  In other words who could be potentially liable to it.

In this Part “relevant person” means—

(a) the Local Government Management Agency,

(b) the Property Registration Authority,

(c) the Private Residential Tenancies Board,

(d) the holder of a licence under section 14(1) of the Electricity Regulation Act 1999 to supply electricity or to discharge the functions of the operator of the distribution system,

(e) the holder of a natural gas licence under section 16(1) of the Gas (Interim) Regulation Act 2002,

(f) An Post,

(g) the Valuation Office,

(h) Ordnance Survey Ireland,

(i) the Minister for Social Protection,

(j) the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine,

(k) the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government,

(l) the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,

(m) the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport,

(n) a local authority, (o) the Health Service Executive,

(p) the National Asset Management Agency, or

(q) the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

For all we don’t like about the property tax and Revenue’s enforcement tool-kit, it’s not this bad!

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