Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has called on the Government to extend the deadline for appealing their valuation on property.
The Valuation Appeals Tribunal website has been down for a number of days due to a suspected malware attack.
Rate payers in Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, South Dublin and Westmeath have all been revalued and face new bills in 2018. They are entitled to appeal their valuation to the Valuation Tribunal before Thursday.
Commenting on the problems Deputy Cowen said,“ Rate paying businesses are the back bone of the local economy. Under the Valuation process that has just finished many of them are facing rates increases of between 50 -100%. This is clearly unsustainable for a small business. It also risks penalising shops on main streets in towns.
“This problem has been compounded by the fact that many businesses are now unable to appeal the valuation. The Valuation Tribunal Office website has been inaccessible for a number of days and is deemed a security risk to anyone trying to access it on their computer. This has meant that many businesses are unable to access relevant information for their appeal.
“I am calling on the Government to extend the deadline to give time to fix the website and allow businesses make a comprehensive appeal. The Government has been promising Commercial Rates reforms for years and taken no action. Fianna Fáil has published our Bill on the matter to reduce the impact of increases. However this needs urgent action. It is completely unfair for business to be effectively denied the ability to appeal a decision that may cost them tens of thousands over the coming year.
“I have contacted Minister Murphy to outline my concerns and advocate that a simple extension and fix to the website is a fair solution for everyone,” concluded Deputy Cowen.