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Hogan announces €100 Household Charge to fund vital local services in our communities

Published on Tuesday, 26 Jul 2011

Hogan announces €100 Household Charge to fund vital local services in our communities

26/07/11

Ireland is one of the last western countries to fund local services through a local charge

The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD today (Tuesday 26th July 2011) announced the introduction of a Household Charge of €100 to fund vital local services in line with the requirement in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland.

Speaking following Cabinet approval of the Household Charge, Minister Hogan said: ‘In line with the EU/IMF agreement, the Government has approved the introduction of a Household Charge in 2012. A full property tax, requiring a property valuation system, will take time to implement, so I am introducing an interim charge of €100 which is to be applied to the majority of households in the country, payable from early  2012.’  

“If we want to continue to have the level of local services we expect, such as fire and emergency services, well maintained streets, public parks, waste services, libraries, open spaces and leisure facilities, we have to be willing to contribute towards paying for them. We expect to raise in the region of €160 million through the Household Charge which will be used to directly support the continued delivery by local authorities of these vital services.

“I understand that the introduction of the charge, even though modest at less than the equivalent of €2 a week, represents an additional cost for all homeowners so I intend to facilitate households in paying it over a number of instalments. I have also sought to protect the most vulnerable in society by excluding those on mortgage interest supplement. Those in certain unfinished housing estates will also have the charge waived.

“It is internationally accepted that local services are administered by local authorities and financed by local service charges. Ireland is now moving along a path to a local and sustainable funding base for local government. Effective local governance requires strong local decision making. This new funding system for local government will continue to allow local authorities to prioritise expenditure to meet locally identified needs as part of the local authority’s budgetary process, making for a more efficient, accountable and effective funding system. This is local democracy in action.” 
 
Ends.

Contact:
Press and Information Office
Tel: (01) 888 2638
E-Mail: press-office@environ.ie  
Web site: www.environ.ie

Notes to the editor:

• The Memorandum of Understanding with the EU and IMF commits Ireland to the introduction of a property tax for 2012 and to an increase in the property tax for 2013.
• The introduction of the Household Charge is an interim measure and proposals for a full property tax will be considered by the Government in due course. 
• The Household Charge will be €100 in 2012 (less than €2 a week).
• This charge is another step in reforming the way local authorities are funded; it follows the introduction of the charge on non-principal private residences (NPPR) in 2009.
• Local representatives can prioritise services, making funding more efficient, transparent and relevant to their community.
• It will contribute to fund local services such as fire and emergency services, libraries, street cleaning, lighting, planting etc.
• Up until now the Exchequer has contributed to the funding of these services but given the current difficult Exchequer position, the funding now needs to be collected locally through the introduction of this charge. 
• It is expected to raise some €160 million - based on the number of properties expected to be liable to the charge. The amount raised will be dependent on actual collection rates and the costs incurred in collecting the charge.
• Every effort will be made to keep administrative costs to the minimum.
• Owners not occupiers will be liable.
• Monies raised will be paid into the Local Government Fund and will be allocated back to local authorities by the Minister in General Purpose Grants – this will ensure authorities with low population figures will not suffer unduly as a result.
• The liability date will be January 2012 and households will have three months to pay. Late payment penalties will apply thereafter (€10 a month).

Collection Methods:

• Collected by LGMA (Local Government Management Agency).
• Based on the principles of the NPPR charge and its successful collection method.
• Post or website (once off or direct debit four times a year).
• Four overriding principles:
1.    Self declaration basis;
2.    Administration costs to be kept to a minimum;
3.    Late payment penalties;
4.    If remains unpaid, charge will remain attached to the property - if a property is sold the new owner becomes liable for outstanding monies.

Exemptions:

1.      Properties that are part of the trading stock of a business (not sold or not generated an income);
2.      Social housing, including voluntary and cooperative housing units;
3.      Owned by Government/Health Service Executive;
4.      Owned by a Charity;
5.      Properties where commercial rates apply;
6.      Where a person is forced to leave their house due to long-term mental or physical infirmity (elderly person that has moved into a nursing home).

Waivers:

1.     Those in receipt of mortgage interest supplement;
2.     Those in certain category 3 and 4 unfinished housing estates (building, planning, control issues and public safety issues or where developer not contactable and there are public safety issues).

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