Wednesday, 19 February 1997
Dáil Éireann Debate
49. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance the number of cases in each of the past five years of blanket listing of property for revision of valuation which were unlikely to lead to a significant change in the rateable valuation. [4650/97]
50. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance the number of cases for each of the past five years of blanket listing of property for revision of valuation submitted in respect of the area of each local authority; and the number of those listings which were initiated by the local authority. [4651/97]
51. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of the Valuation Office's resources absorbed over the past five years by blanket listings unlikely to lead to significant change in the rateable valuation. [4652/97]
52. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance, in view of his reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 87 to 91 of 5 February 1997, if he will disclose the number of properties listed by each local authority over the past five years, where he considers the listings were less than judicious. [4653/97]
53. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance if an authority exists for seeking to deter occupiers of property and local authorities from requesting revision of rateable valuations; and if so, if he will give details of that legal basis. [4654/97]
54. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance if the policy of discouraging the listing of property for revision of valuation, as disclosed in his reply to parliamentary questions on 5 February 1997, is likely to lead to an uneven and unreliable base on commercial property leaving that base open to challenge in the courts, with consequences similar to the challenge some years ago against the rateable valuations on land. [4655/97]
The term “blanket listing” in this context refers to listings originating from intense canvassing of ratepayers by certain rating consultancy firms or blocks of listing of closely related property types by certain rating consultancy firms. In general, “blanket listings” do not emanate from rating authorities.
The Valuation Office records are not organised in a way in which they will be readily able to provide the requested statistics and their compilation would involve an unreasonable input of Valuation Office time, staff and resources. I am satisfied that the effort involved would not be justified by reference to the usefulness of the statistics compiled.
There is no question of preventing either occupiers of property or rating authorities from making requests for the revision of rateable valuation. Both parties can still make such requests and all revision applications will be processed by the Valuation Office. The issue here is the concentration of finite resources on areas of greatest need. The resources of the Valuation Office are not infinite and it is proper that these resources should be deployed to the optimum benefit of both rate-payers and the local authorities. The Valuation Act, 1988, gives the Minister for Finance the power to determine fees for revision applications. As I indicated in my answer to the Deputy's parliamentary questions on 5 Februry last, the rationale for the recent revision of the revision application fee is essentially twofold: (i) by encouraging both occupiers and rating authorities to confine revision applications to cases where substantial valuation issues arise and-or where the properties involved were actually liable to rates, to allow Valuation Office resources to be concentrated on those applications where most work was needed or justified; and (ii) to effect a  greater recovery of the costs to the Valuation Office of operating the revision process.
The question of an uneven and unreliable base emerging on commercial properties does not arise. Section 5 of the Valuation Act, 1986, requires, among other things, that all valuation be made by reference to recently revised premises.
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