Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
360. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the legal basis for imposing the monthly penalty charge of €20 for arrears of the non-principal private residence charge in view of a claim by a property owner that was unaware of the existence of this charge and that at no stage were they informed of the charge by either him or the local authority; in cases in which late registration fees can run into several thousand euro, if there is a cap on the liabilities that can be applied; and, in such cases, if there is a mechanism by which a payment plan can be implemented. [35765/11]
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 provides the legislative basis for the €200 charge on non-principal private residences (NPPR), including the application of late payment fees. The Act places the onus on an owner of a residential property which is situated in the State to assess his or her liability for the charge in the first instance and there is no obligation on local authorities, who levy and collect the charge, to issue notifications or invoices.
Nationwide advertising took place in each year since the introduction of the charge in 2009 to ensure general awareness of the charge and the liability dates. In tandem, local authorities have undertaken their own advertising campaigns locally. Communications have also been issued to persons who paid the charge in respect of previous years reminding them of their possible liability for the charge.
Significant efforts are being made to ensure that property owners are aware of the charge and the liability dates. However, the charge is based on self assessment principles and it is a matter for persons with a liability to pay the charge by the due date to avoid late payment fees. The Act places the charge under the care and management of local authorities.
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