Late payers of household charge hit by €300,000 in penalties

April 2012

Many families who decided to bite the bullet and pay the household charge have been hit with late-payment fines and interest penalties of almost €300,000.

This is because they failed to pay the €100 charge by the March 31 deadline and were forced to stump up an additional €10 late-payment fee and €1 interest payment.

A total of 890,184 homeowners have registered to pay the charge, figures from the Local Government Management Agency show.

Some 648,739 have paid the tax in full, with just over 27,000 paying since March 31, meaning they were liable for late-payment fees.

Homeowners who pay no later than six months after the due date are hit with a 10pc late-payment fee. This rises to 20pc after six months and 30pc after a year. An additional interest penalty of 1pc is added per month it is unpaid.

Penalties

So far, €297,242 has been paid in penalties, but the figure is expected to increase as postal applications are processed.

Some 153,000 payments have been made by post, and another 74,000 payments to local authority offices, which have yet to be processed. And 14,445 applications have been made for a waiver.

The charge is intended to replace Exchequer funding to local authorities. Some 1.6 million houses are liable for the charge, which was supposed to yield €160m to be given to city and county councils to fund essential services.

However, the collection rate is just over 55pc, which means that local authorities will be hit with a shortfall in funding.

Last week, Environment Minister Phil Hogan suggested he would “incentivise” local authorities that “pull out all the stops” to collect the charge by giving them a greater allocation of the money generated.

Not until all applications are processed will enforcement action begin against homeowners who refuse to pay, the Department of the Environment said yesterday.

 

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