Revenue are using 'Google Maps' to value your home for property tax

Revenue said the tool allows officials to avoid physically visiting properties
Revenue said the tool allows officials to avoid physically visiting properties

THE Revenue Commissioners are using ‘Google Maps’ to assess the value of homes liable for the Local Property Tax (LPT), the Dail’s Spending Watchdog has heard.

Revenue chairman Niall Cody said the use of the technology allows his officials to avoid the need to physically visit properties when questions over valuations arise.

He told the the Public Accounts Committee today that the property tax register was build within nine months during a time “when our resources were diminishing both in terms of staff numbers and administrative budget”.

It's a fairly useful tool, he said. 

"We were looking at an area in South Dublin where there was one property that was six bands below the street.

"Then you can focus in and you found it was a mews house in the back garden of one of the houses, totally out of proportion with all the rest of them and perfectly reasonable."

The compliance rate for LPT  for 2013 and 2014 were 97pc while the the rate for 2015 stands at 96pc.

Mr Cody said that since 2013, 600,000 warning letters have been sent for non-payment of the property tax or household charge.

He said payments have been deducted from salaries or pensions in over 140,000 cases, while over 1,000 cases have been referred to the Sheriff.

Meanwhile, Mr Cody told the PAC that there are currently 47,000 properties which are listed as having no “owner identity”.

In response to questions by Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden, Mr Cody said this has proven to be a “ huge challenge” for Revenue.

He said the issue of dwellings not having identifiable owners is a particular issue in rural Ireland.

But he said some properties are duplicated or wrong owner names are attached and that he does not believe all of these 47,000 properties are liable for the property tax.

Niall O'Connor & Shuki Byrne