Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
264. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the non-principal private residence charge is liable to persons who own a property here but live outside the State; if the persons are liable but have not been notified of the charge, if they will become liable for any penalties accrued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16456/11]
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, which introduced the non-principal private residence charge, places the onus on individual property owners to assess their liability for the charge in the first instance. There is no obligation on local authorities to issue demands or invoices. The charge is set at €200 per dwelling and is being levied and collected by local authorities. A late payment fee of €20 for each month or part of a month the charge remains outstanding is provided for in section 6 of the Act.
Nationwide advertising took place in both 2009 and 2010, and is underway again this year, to ensure general awareness of the charge and the liability dates. In tandem, local authorities have undertaken their own advertising campaigns locally. In addition, local authorities have separately sent reminders to property owners registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB). In this regard, every effort has been made to ensure that property owners are aware of the charge and any potential liability arising therefrom.
265. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans regarding the reform of the commercial rates structure to alleviate the financial pressure on hard pressed business people. [16464/11]
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.
I recognise that these are difficult economic times for many businesses and I will continue to keep all matters relating to rates under regular consideration in my Department. However, I have no immediate plans to conduct a review of the rating system generally.
Local authorities play a central role in supporting economic development and enterprise at local level. They do this in a number of ways including through their capital and current budgets, economic planning and development and the provision of goods and services as well as community infrastructure.
Business Support Units or similar arrangements have been put in place in all county and city councils. These Units provide a dedicated one-stop-shop approach for businesses in areas such as planning, water services and roads. In addition, the local government led County/City Development Boards are engaged in economic development and the promotion of enterprise in their areas.
The Programme for Government provides for an expanded role for local authorities in local enterprise and community development. This in turn will assist in maximising the impact of investment to produce jobs at local level.
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