By David Hennessy
A DERBYSHIRE woman with a holiday home in Clare has been hit with a series of late payment charges for a holiday home tax bill she was never actually sent.
Frances Smith was told it was her responsibility to know how much she owed and that authorities in Ireland were under no obligation to inform her.
Now she wants to warn other people in the UK with houses in Ireland about what she calls the ‘immoral’ and ‘obscene’ NPPR charge – or non-principal private residence tax which was scrapped last year and replaced by the Local Property Tax (LPT).
Mrs Smith never heard about the tax until she returned to her Clare home finding late payment charges added to her bill.
The NPPR was introduced in 2009 and applies to second properties, holiday homes and rental properties from 2009 and 2013.
Frances told The Irish World: “We had not been notified that this charge was in. In August 2009 we visited Clare and the letter was through the door and it had got extra charges added to it for late payment. Do they think we’ve got divine intervention or what?
“We have written to the local county council office, I have written I don’t know how many times, for them to just tell me when the payments were due. We were just ignored every time.
“Apparently they started in January (2009) and if you haven’t paid by March, they add penalties. Have you ever heard of anything so stupid? They’ve got all the information there but don’t notify you and I think it is just a ploy to get money out of people.
“We’ve paid, paid, paid right along. Clare County Council didn’t have a list of the payments we had made, I had to actually send them a list of the payments. This NPPR apparently finished on 5 July 2013 but they have demanded a full year’s payment. NPPR was replaced by the household charge and that charge has a changed name again to the local property tax. You can’t keep track of it. In one year, you pay three lots of charges.
“It’s immoral. A house a few doors away from us, he lives in America and he got clobbered for €1200. It’s absolutely obscene.”
In 2012, Mrs Smith and her husband were asked for €100 that they had already paid. Although they paid it and were rightly refunded, the refund came without the late charge that was added.
“We’re pensioners, we don’t mind paying charges but we can’t get answers from anyone. I wonder if that is legal under EU law.”