The news today that the Revenue is sending Local Property Tax (LPT) refunds to thousands of people is a direct result of a flawed legislative process which resulted in the relevant section not even being debated in the Dáil, according to the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD.

Deputy McGrath stated, “It would appear that today’s Revenue statement relates to Section 8 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 which was intended to provide an exemption from the LPT to any first time buyer who bought a second hand house on or before 31 December 2013. However, the Revenue now believes that the wording used in the Act exempts all buyers, not just first time buyers.

“The committee stage debate of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 was one of the most farcical parliamentary experiences I have had since being elected to Dáil Éireann. The debate took place on 18th December 2012 and so anxious was the government to ram the bill through before Christmas that the committee stage was forced through in a matter of hours. Only 2 of the 159 sections of the Bill were even debated.

“The government has to accept full responsibility for the fact that those who wish to pay their 2014 LPT liability by debit or credit card will have money taken off them in November 2013. They now have to accept responsibility for this latest blunder which will result in thousands of refunds being issued to property owners the government did not intend to exempt.

“The Minister for Finance also needs to clarify whether the effect of today’s Revenue statement is that any person – whether they be a first time buyer or not – who buys a second hand home between now and the end of the year for the purpose of using it as their family home will be exempt from the LPT until 2016.”