Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has said it is not acceptable that the Revenue is collecting payment in 2013 for the 2014 Local Property Tax (LPT) liability and has called on the payment arrangements to be changed.

Deputy McGrath said, “The letters sent by Revenue this week to homeowners around the country have caused widespread confusion. Apart from the complex and cumbersome nature of the correspondence, the fact that some homeowners will end up paying next year’s LPT charge immediately is simply not acceptable. The bottom line is that the LPT charge for 2014 should not be collected until an agreed payment date in 2014.

“Any person wishing to pay using a debit or credit card or by cheque will have the money taken off them immediately. If you go online and seek to choose a debit or credit card as your preferred payment option, the Revenue demands your card details and the charge will be levied immediately. Alternatively, people who choose the single debit authorisation option will not pay until March 21st 2014.

“I believe the simplest thing to do would be to have a single payment date in 2014 for all those who wish to pay the LPT in one payment. Ideally, that payment date should be in the middle of the calendar year to which the liability relates. I do not accept the Revenue’s explanation that they have no option but to deduct the LPT from debit and credit cards immediately. Taking money from people in November will undoubtedly have an adverse impact on the crucial Christmas trade for retailers.

“The government has remained completely silent as the Revenue caused great distress to homeowners this week. A change of approach is required immediately or else many people will end up paying the 2014 LPT in November 2013. This is unfair, unnecessary and must be changed.”