The deadline for the payment of the Non-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge has now passed.
So far, Longford Co Council has collected €281,000, however a spokesperson confirmed that there was a “large volume of arrears” and when processed, that figure was likely to increase.
“It should be noted that this income i s part of the Council’s adopted budget for 2014 rather than additional income,” the spokesperson added.
“If on September 1, 2014 any charges or late payment fees due have not been addressed, €120 per charge outstanding will be applied and added to arrears.
“In addition, 50% of this new amount will also be applied and this total amount will be capped.”
The spokesperson went on to point out to property owners that the increase on the principal amount as a result of penalties “was significant” and advised those with an outstanding liability to contact the Council immediately.
Meanwhile, Leitrim Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Kenny claimed that information contained in letters from local authorities on the NPPR was upsetting property owners and causing confusion.
“People mistakenly think it is a legal demand for the amount of €4,220,” said Cllr Kenny, adding, “It is important to state at the outset, that the whole NPPR penalties scheme is pure daylight robbery by the Government, extorting huge sums of money from people.”
Longford business consultant James Morgan said: “Several individuals have been in contact with me expressing their horror at the extortionate penalty rate being applied, where a liability of €1,000 has now become €7,230. While I understand the tax has to be paid, even criminals subjected to penalties by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) don’t have to pay this level of interest.”
Mr Morgan concluded by pointing out that a local woman asked him to bring the matter to the attention of local politicians, saying she simply could not afford the charge due to the recent loss of her husband’s job.