1 November is the liability date for Local Property Tax

If you own a residential property on 1 November 2014 you have to pay LPT for 2015. If you  sell your residential property after 1 November 2014 you are liable to pay LPT on the property for 2015, even if it is sold before the end of 2014.

The amount of LPT due for 2015 depends on the value declared for the property on 1 May 2013 and the LPT rate that applies to your property for 2015. Some local authorities have reduced the LPT rate for 2015. If your rate was reduced by your local authority the rate you pay has been automatically adjusted by Revenue.

You can check how much LPT is due for 2015 on your property by accessing your LPT record online using your PPSN, Property ID and PIN.

Find out more about paying your LPT for 2015. 

 

Revenue Pay and File deadline

The Pay and File deadline is approaching. Self-assessed tax payers must pay and file by 31 October 2014 if they are making a paper return. People using the Revenue Online System (ROS) to make their returns have an extra two weeks – until 13 November 2014.

You should pay and file on time to avoid surcharges, interest and penalties, and reduce your risk of a tax audit. Note that the rules about self-assessment changed for the year 2013. In previous years Revenue would assess your liability for tax on the basis of the information you entered in your income tax return. From 2013 your annual return of income form – Form 11  – includes a self-assessment section which you (or your agent) must complete and sign. If you do not make this self-assessment you will be liable to a penalty of €250. If you use ROS, the system can calculate your tax liability based on the information you input and you can then choose to use this in your self-assessment.

Visit Revenue to find out how to register for ROS and how to pay and file online. 

 

 

New mental health campaign #littlethings

#Littlethings is a new mental health and wellbeing campaign from the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention and over 25 partner organisations.  The #littlethings campaign highlights that we all experience difficult times in our lives, and that when we do, there are some simple, evidence-based little things that can make a big difference to how we feel.

Visit the new website, yourmentalhealth.ie to find out what little things can help and access a comprehensive online directory of support services and information on mental health.

 

 

Know Your Rights: Local Property Tax and the local adjustment factor

Question

What is the local adjustment factor for the Local Property Tax and how will this affect me?

Answer

Until now, Local Property Tax (LPT) rates have been the same nationwide – 0.18% for properties valued up to €1 million and 0.25% on any balance over €1 million. However, from 2015 on, a local authority may vary these basic rates within its own area by a maximum of 15%. This means that your local authority can either increase or decrease the rates of LPT payable in its area in 2015 by up to 15%. This is called the local adjustment factor. While the local authority has the power to vary the rates, the LPT will still be collected by Revenue.

The elected members of a local authority must consider the issues and decide whether to apply a local adjustment factor for 2015. To do this they must have passed a formal resolution to vary the rates and must have notified Revenue on or before 30 September 2014. If they reduce LPT rates by 15% in 2015, for example, this will result in a corresponding reduction of 15% in the amount that the local authority gets from the central LPT fund in 2015. (Each local authority will retain 80% of LPT to fund public services in 2015. The remaining 20% will be redistributed to provide top-up funding to certain local authority areas that have lower property tax bases than others because of the variance in property values across the State.)

The introduction of the local adjustment factor means that residential properties of the same value in different local authority areas may pay different amounts of LPT from  2015 on, depending on whether the local authority has applied a local adjustment factor or not.

For example, if your house is valued under €100,000, you will have paid €90 LPT in 2014. If the LPT rate in your local authority area is increased by 15%, you will pay €103.50 LPT in 2015 and if this rate is decreased by 15%, you will pay €76.50 LPT in 2015. Your LPT record will be updated in October 2014 to include your 2015 LPT charge. You will be able to confirm your LPT rate for 2015 by accessing your online LPT record.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

October mid-term break

The dates for the Christmas, Easter and mid-term breaks are standardised in Irish primary and post-primary schools. In 2014 all schools will close from Monday 27 October to Friday 31 October inclusive.

Schools are required to be open for a minimum of 167 days at post-primary level and 183 days at primary level. The dates for the start and the end of the school year are not standardised so schools have some discretion about when students finish school in the summer and when they start school in the autumn. All schools are closed for July and most (or all) of August.

Find out more about school terms. 

Know Your Rights: Debt Relief Notices

Question

I am unemployed, getting social welfare and living in rented accommodation. I have large credit card debts and a credit union loan of €13,300. I can’t make my repayments and the only asset I have is a car worth €1,200, which I need to take my son to school. Is there anything I can do to reduce my debts?

Answer

You may qualify for a Debt Relief Notice (DRN). This is one of three debt resolution mechanisms introduced under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012  for people who cannot afford to pay their personal debts. In general, you can qualify for a DRN if your net monthly income after deductions for reasonable living expenses is under €60 and your total assets are valued at €400 or less. There are some exceptions. You are allowed, for example, to own a motor vehicle valued at €2,000 or less. You may qualify for a DRN if all your qualifying debts are below €20,000, excluding certain “non-permitted” debts.

You must apply for a DRN through an Approved Intermediary (AI). You must disclose all details of your financial affairs to the AI, who will then advise you whether or not you meet the conditions for a DRN, the consequences, and any alternative options. The AI service is free.

The DRN provides you with protection from creditors for three years. If your circumstances do not change and you meet all the conditions of your DRN, at the end of the three-year period the money you owe to the creditors named on the DRN will be written off.

You can choose an AI from the Register of Approved Intermediaries published by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI). Several Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) companies have been authorised as AIs. If you plan to apply for a DRN through MABS, you will first need to answer some questions to check if you meet the eligibility criteria. You will need to gather all relevant information about your debts, assets, income and circumstances.

You can get further information from MABS on 0761 07 2000 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 8 pm)  mabs.ie or from the ISI’s helpline 0761 06 4200 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm) and isi.gov.ie. The ISI also has a new website backontrack.ie for people who are struggling with debt.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Seasonal flu vaccination campaign

Flu is a very serious illness - there can be potentially 1,000 flu related deaths in Ireland during a severe flu season. The HSE recommends that the following groups of at-risk people should be vaccinated against seasonal influenza:

  • Everyone aged 65 years and over
  • Anyone over six months of age with a long term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes or those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay facilities
  • Healthcare workers

In addition to seasonal flu vaccination, some people in the at-risk groups may also need pneumococcal vaccine which is available from GPs. Pneumococcal vaccine is not required every year – most people only need to get it once, so those at risk should check with their GP.

The HSE provides the flu and pneumococcal vaccine free of charge for all those in the at-risk groups. The vaccine and consultation are free for people with a medical card or GP visit card. People who do not have a medical card or GP visit card will be charged a consultation fee.

Those aged 18 years or older in the at risk groups may attend either their GP or pharmacist for vaccination and people under 18 should go to their GP.

Know Your Rights: Household Benefits Package and water charges

Question

I live alone and get a State Pension. Will I be able to get any help with the new water charges?

Answer

Domestic water charges will apply from 1 October 2014 and the first bills will issue from January 2015. A free allowance of a certain amount of water will be provided for every household, with extra allowances for children. If you are getting the Household Benefits Package, you will also get help with the cost of water charges. From January 2015 the Household Benefits Package will include a new annual Water Support payment of €100 (made up of four equal payments of €25). The Water Support payment will be paid to everyone who qualifies for the Household Benefits Package. This includes people who are not customers of Irish Water and who either have their own water supply or are members of a group scheme. If you are currently getting the Household Benefits Package and get your allowance as a credit on your bill, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) does not hold payment details for you. In September 2014 the DSP contacted customers to ask them to complete a form with their bank account information so the Water Support payment can be paid directly. The Water Support payment can also be paid in post offices. The Water Support payment will be paid directly to you, not to Irish Water. If your home is connected to a public water supply (or to public wastewater services) you will need to set up an account with Irish Water to pay your water charges and to claim the free household allowance. Irish Water has sent customer application packs to all households, to be returned by 31 October 2014.

Budget 2015: It was announced in Budget 2015 that from 2015 tax relief on water charges at the standard rate of 20% will be available, up to a maximum of €500 per annum (which means a maximum €100 tax credit). This relief will be paid in arrears. An additional Water Support payment of €100 per annum will be paid to all Fuel Allowance recipients who do not already get the Household Benefits Package.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Know Your Rights: Getting a PPS number

Question

I’ve just moved to Ireland and I’m looking for a job. Some potential employers have asked for my PPS Number. What is it and how do I get one?

Answer

Your Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number) is a unique reference number that helps you to access public services in Ireland. Sometimes employers say that you must have a PPS Number when applying for a job. What they really mean is that you need to have the right to work in Ireland and they use the PPS Number as shorthand for this. However, in law they are not entitled to do this (and having a PPS Number does not prove that you have the right to work in Ireland).

The legislation that governs the use of PPS Numbers states that the PPS Number can only be used by:

  • Any organisation listed in legislation (a public or specified body)
  • Any person or body authorised by a public body to do so
  • Any person who has a transaction with a public body

This means that private companies or bodies (including potential employers) cannot use the number unless they are carrying out a transaction with a public body such as Revenue. The Personal Public Service Number Code of Practice on the Department of Social Protection’s website outlines who can use the PPS Number and for what purposes.

If you have newly arrived in Ireland you cannot get a PPS Number unless you need it for a transaction with a specified body. For example:

  • Starting work (so you can pay tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge)
  • Applying for a driving licence or exchanging your existing one for an Irish driving licence
  • Applying for Child Benefit or another social welfare payment
  • Setting up an account with Irish Water

Only the Department of Social Protection can provide you with a PPS Number. You can find a list of the social welfare local offices that can allocate PPS Numbers on the Department’s website. You will need to fill out an application form (which is only available from one of these PPS allocation centres), provide proof of your identity and evidence of your address. You may also be asked to show why you need a PPS number.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.